Community Supported Agriculture: The Future of Farming?
Community Supported Agriculture:
The Future of Farming?
Most of us have heard the term “think globally, act locally”, but probably have not really given that a whole lot of thought. Today, we are going to talk about a wave that is not coming… because it is already here! While many people might not necessarily think global, acting local is evident with some of the new movements we are seeing, such as CSA Farming!
Good afternoon, and Happy Tuesday!
Today’s topic is one that we are actually VERY excited about… and it relates to smaller farms, and often the smaller businesses that will buy from these smaller farms.
What is this movement?
Well… if you read the intro (or the title) you are probably well aware that we are talking about community support agriculture, or CSA Farming, or just plain CSA.
Since I have a lot of writing to do, we are just going to call it CSA… just to save me a few keystrokes and to save you some extra time processing unnecessary words.
So, the question most people are going to have is “what is CSA and why should it matter to me?”
That is a perfectly valid two-part question, and we hope to provide you with an excellent answer.
What is CSA in the Meat Industry?
As stated, this stands for community supported agriculture, and there are those that indicate that this is the ultimate form of thinking globally and acting locally, as this is not just about getting food, giving money, and exchanging goods and services as a nothing more than a trade.
CSA is all about two key things:
Really… when it comes down to local businesses, these factors are why you buy from them, right?
The person you are buying from is a friend, a brother, a sister, a neighbor… and you are helping them keep their business afloat. And yes, you get something in return…
In the case of CSA, you typically get access to the best possible food. It is the freshest, it is the tastiest, and with providing direct support to your local community, it is also just the right thing to do.
In short, CSA is better for you as the consumer, and it is better for the community. That being said, CSA is a cooperative agreement, and it should matter for a number of reasons!
How does it Work?
Typically, once people realize what CSA is, they want to find a way to get involved. Getting involved is kind of like contributing to a Kickstarter campaign… you give the farmer money at the beginning of the year before they begin working crazy hours, and when all is said and done the farmer provides you with fresh food once it is available before the remainder goes to the market.
Yes, it is a form of crowdsourcing… and it does benefit everyone involved in the process.
As the buyer, you will receive:
· Fresh food – the fresher the food is, the more vitamins and minerals it contains, and the healthier it is for you!
· Developing a relationship with your farmer (community is important, remember)
· It helps children establish good taste in good food and develop healthy eating habits early in life
· As a consumer, you will LEARN more about the food you are eating; knowing more about what you put into your body is always a good thing
· Often (but not always) the farmer repays your trust by giving you food worth more than your original contribution. While you might have to wait a little longer for it, you normally do get a small price break!
What does the farmer get out of the deal?
· The farmer gets to know their consumer base that is local, which can help them grow and raise foods that are in line with local taste. While a benefit to the consumer as well, this offers the farmer the ability to tailor their farm and provide exactly what their friends, neighbors, and families want
· The funds that the farmer receives gives them needed cashflow for early in the season; it is no mystery that farming is very boom-bust, and that early in the year small-town farmers have no money for marketing. Your support helps the farmer market before they are working insane hours, and this helps the farmer stay in business.
Well… I don’t live near a CSA…
With more and more people living in cities and away from the traditional rural areas where farming is normal, there are those that have connections with these local and smaller farmers, and these people care about the farmers and they care about you…
I am, of course, speaking of your butchers, your vegetable sellers, your bakers… any of the smaller businesses that take pride in providing you with a better-quality product and better quality service than the larger chains do.
Yes, we are biased towards butchery as a meat market, but this is important to talk about!
CSA practices allows butchers and meat markets to make the deals we are discussing; they offer the farmers a large amount of money in the beginning of the year, and the result of this is they get a large amount of meat from the farmer when the time comes.
The result of this is fresher meat, better meat, and healthier meat. It also means that the butcher knows exactly where his or her meat is coming from, and as most of us are aware, transparency is very important in the food-based supply chain.
When the butcher gets the freshest meat, the butcher is able to provide you with exactly what you need, and the butcher is able to provide you with exactly what you want in any given circumstance…
Do you want legitimately fresh beef? Or chicken?
I know that fresher meat tastes better, unless we are talking about aged beef (but I would still prefer the arrangement with CSA so that I know where my food is coming from).
Overall, better quality creates better opportunity, and this opportunity to enjoy real, healthy, and natural food cannot be overstated.
In short, you probably do not live in a position to be able to work with a CSA, and this is fine… if you already do, or if you are in position to do so, good for you!
If not, work with your local meat market and butcher… make sure that these professionals have what they need to give farmers what they need… because in the end it makes it easier for them to provide you with what you need.
CSA truly is the idea of thinking globally (reducing worldwide carbon footprints) ad acting locally (by taking care of your own community instead of a faceless corporation).
Be a part of this tradition; think globally, act locally, and enjoy the best food that you can get your hands on!
That is all for now!
That is all we have for today – hopefully you understand how important CSA practices are, and you see how you can benefit!
Now, earlier we did mention aged beef, and how it is not *technically* fresh… but I would rather the process starts with the freshest beef. For more information on WHY this is the case, subscribe to our email list to get a free copy of our first ever e-book! It is jam packed with around 15,000 words of information on your meat, your meat grading, and general thoughts on the meat industry!
Join our family, be a part of our tribe, and we look forward to hearing from all of you!