what is CSA?

teikei* = food with the farmer’s face on it

The history of Community Supported Agriculture traces back to Japan in the mid 60s when homemakers began noticing an increase in imported foods, loss of farmland to developments and migration of farmers to the cities. In 1965, a group of women approached a local family farm with an idea: multiple families would commit to support the farm and the farm in turn would supply the families with fresh vegetables and fruits. Thus the concept of community supported agriculture was born. Again in 1971, a group of women who wanted chemical-free food joined with agricultural researchers and farmers to form the Japanese Organic Agriculture Association (JOAA). Within a few years, the consumer group grew to 1,300 members who were willing to help with the farm work and distribution of the food. The history of JOAA and Teikei are closely intertwined. Teikei in Japanese means “cooperation”, “joint business”, or “link-up”. In reference to CSA, it is commonly translated as “food with the farmer’s face on it”.

Community Shared Agriculture (CSA) is an intentional relationship between farmer, consumer, and the land that produces your vegetables.

You, the consumer (eater) become members of our CSA and invest in the farm by paying in advance for a weekly delivery of fresh vegetables for the duration of the growing season. This helps us, the farmers, cover early-season costs such as seeds, field materials, and labour. We deliver vegetable baskets to a local drop-off every week from late June to early October.

CSA provides you with direct access to fresh, local, carefully grown vegetables. By partnering with a local farm, you play an active role in the development of local, sustainable agriculture. As CSA members you accept the risk that weather and pests may effect the availability or abundance of certain crops at certain times.  We commit to providing diverse, seasonal baskets of our exceptionally fresh, local produce and recipe suggestions on how to use it.

CSA is based on the principle: ‘Share the risk, share the benefits – share the harvest!”. The model requires thorough planning and organization, refined crop production and protection techniques, and an enthusiastic and productive relationship with our partners.

CSA offers many benefits to members, farmers, and the broader community:

  • Know where your food comes from and how it is grown
  • Learn what grows seasonally in your area and how to cook it
  • Connect with others interested in local food and sustainability
  • Reduce ‘food miles’ – save fossil fuel and lower greenhouse gas emissions
  • Protect the long-term health of the land, water and wildlife
  • Keep dollars in the community and support the local economy
  • Increase food security in our region
  • Build community.

We welcome and encourage your involvement in farm activities whether in the actual gardens or indoors with translation, recipe suggestions, photographs or hosting a potluck.

If you would like to sign sp for an urban share with Aylmer Backyard Farms, click here.

Much of the above information was gleaned from the websites of Roots and Shoots Farm, Tournesol Cooperative Farm, Ferme Lève-Tôt, Helios Farm and Wikipedia.