Farming’s Viable Future Made Possible by Community Supported Agriculture
Community supported agriculture (CSA) makes farming viable for the future. The concept is simple––a relationship of mutual support and commitment between a local farm and its community. Members help support the farm financially for the duration of the growing season. In return, the farm family and dedicated crew do all the work necessary to plant, grow, harvest and deliver produce. The cost of a weekly share, locked in at the time of joining, ensures that all food dollars go directly to the farmer.
Traditional CSA memberships, paid for at the beginning of the year when most vegetable farms in our region are not generating income, help to sustain the farm well into the summer, as farmers buy expensive seeds, machinery, supplies and certifications, and account for building repairs and general labor costs.
CSA members become educated about their local climate’s true growing capabilities. Weekly shares of fresh, local produce encourage nutritious eating. Kids try vegetable and fruit varieties at a young age and learn about different colors, shapes and flavors. Couples and families spend time together cooking with distinct ingredients from their local region.
For many health-conscious individuals, knowledge and assurance that all of their produce is coming from the same farm with sustainable growing practices is vital. Contrary to popular belief, small, local farms are at an advantage when it comes to food safety. Less acreage, fewer workers and less travel of the actual produce makes it much easier for farmers to manage, trace and safely keep track of their yields and growing practices.
With all the recent recalls in the produce industry, there is no better time to support and commit to local agriculture through a CSA membership. Consumers are able to impact the food industry by consciously deciding where to spend their food dollars.
Lucas Brownback is the CSA manager and second-generation farmer at Spiral Path Farm, located at 538 Spiral Path Lane, in Loysville. The 300-acre farm has been USDA-certified organic since 1994 and has an 1,800-member CSA. For more information, call 717-789-4433 or visit SpiralPathFarm.com.