Terms & Glossary
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA): A CSA is a business model whereby members commit financially to a farm, typically at the beginning of a season, in exchange for an anticipated ‘member share’ of the farm’s product.
CSA Members – A member can be an individual, family, business, etc.
Cost of a Member Share (sometimes marketed as a ‘full’ or ‘half’ share) is intended to cover the costs of the farm operation. The price can range from $15 to $50 per week depending on the size and contents.
Up Front Payment – Typically, a partial up front payment is needed for a CSA share at the start of a growing season, so the farmer has essentially sold the harvest before planting has even begun. Full payment if usually required a few months before the first pick up.
CSA Pick Up – Members usually pick up their weekly share at the farm or at a centralized location (such as a business office). Most CSAs rely on weekly distribution, but the frequency is entirely up to the farmer who established this in the CSA contract.
CSA Contract – Many CSA farms use a member contract, which is an informal agreement that farmers use to explain their CSA to potential members. The contract usually includes information about the farm’s growing methods, products, schedule, and costs.
Sharing Risk – Most farmers ask their CSA members to share in the risk of crop failure due to weather damage, pests, etc. In other words, if there is a particular crop failure, members may be expected to understand that this is a usual hazard of farming and the missing product will not be replaced.
Add-Ons – In addition to the standard box or bag of veggies in a CSA share, it is increasingly common that a farm will offer additional agricultural products of their own or from other farms to purchase such as fruit, flowers, eggs, meat, popcorn, syrup, bread, and cheese.