Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a production and marketing model whereby consumers buy shares of a farm’s harvest in advance. Consumers become CSA members by paying an agreed amount at the beginning of the growing season, either in one lump sum or in installments. The annual cost depends on the length of the harvest season and the variety and quantity of products provided. This upfront payment helps buy the seed and other inputs needed for the season and provides the farmer an immediate income to begin the season.
By paying at the beginning of the season, CSA members share in the risk of production and relieve the farmer of much of the time needed for marketing. This allows the farmer to concentrate on good land stewardship and growing high quality food. In return for their membership fee, consumers receive a variety of freshly picked vegetables every week. Some CSAs also offer fruits, herbs, meats, eggs, dairy, cut flowers, and other products. Essentially you are buying up front for food you would purchase for use every week at a farmers market. A lot of farmers market vendors participate in CSAs because it allows them more flexibility at the beginning of the growing season to purchase all of their supplies in exchange for you to receive a fresh weekly subscription to their produce, meats, cut flowers, or other agriculture products.
CSAs are found throughout Alaska. To find one in your region, use the guide found here: CSAs & Farmstands.