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Your Guide to Community-Supported Agriculture

August 10, 2012 Le Cordon Bleu Miami 0 Comments

Your Guide to Community-Supported Agriculture

There has always been a strong do-it-yourself streak in America, especially when it comes to food, but not everyone can be a farmer. The next best thing, however, is to join a CSA (Community-Supported Agriculture) program. These alternative food networks consist of individuals who pledge to support a farming operation through the purchase of shares. The members collectively share what is grown on the farm, including weekly boxes of farm fresh produce during growing seasons. Some farms offer other products like natural soaps, raw honey, coffee, eggs, and fresh meats. Many Florida culinary professionals rely on CSAs for both their personal and professional cooking.

Sharing the Risk
CSAs also share the risks of running a farm. Weather and pestilence can take a toll on a farm, creating a bad season for farmers and shareholders alike. In such cases, product quality and quantity can suffer. Farmer’s, however, will often provide their CSA members with the best of what is available and leave the poorest produce for other markets.

Advantages of CSA Programs to Members
CSAs provide many benefits to the communities they serve. Join one to and take advantage of these and other benefits:

  • Food is always fresh and usually organic
  • Get exposed to new produce and new varieties of old favorites
  • Ability to visit the farm
  • Kid’s love it and will eat their veggies because of it
  • Get to know your farmer and how your food is grown
  • No excuses for eating junk food

Advantages of CSA Programs to Farmers
CSAs provide help for the business side of farming by providing built-in markets and relegating marketing activities to pre- and post-season activities. For farmers that means:

  • Spending more time with crops and less on marketing
  • Payments arrive prior to planting and growing which helps in the smooth operation of the farm
  • Becoming a part of the community and get to know the people who are consuming their products

A Growing Trend
The last twenty years has seen a boom in CSA programs in every state in the country. There is no exact count for the number of CSAs, but the group, LocalHarvest.org, has more than 4,000 in their database. Tens of thousands of families enjoy the variety and freshness of produce available from their CSA.

Just like the local, organic food movement is revolutionizing today’s food service industry, CSA are changing home cooking patterns. Recent scares with product quality and contaminants within factory farming operations have only accelerated the popularity of CSAs. With their focus on high-quality, organic foods, CSA farmers are changing the way Americans think about their food supply. Join one and you’ll understand why.

This article is presented by Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Miami. Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Miami offers culinary arts and pâtisserie and baking training programs in the Miami, Florida area. To learn more about the class offerings, please visit Chefs.edu/Miami for more information. 

Find disclosures on graduation rates, student financial obligations and more at www.chefs.edu/disclosures.  
Le Cordon Bleu® and the Le Cordon Bleu logo are registered trademarks of Career Education Corporation. Le Cordon Bleu cannot guarantee employment or salary. Credits earned are unlikely to transfer.

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