The CSA Movement

The Community Supported Agriculture or CSA is a concept first used in the United Stares in New England in 1985.  Now there are over 500 operating CSA’s in this country.

 

WHY COMMUNITY SUPORTED AGRICULTURE?

CSA’s occur when a group of consumers and farmers recognize that they share a common purpose in supporting agriculture that is socially and ecologically responsible.  Consumers and farmers are consciously working together to take care of the earth.  The consumer knows where and how his/her food is being grown, can take part in farm work and activities, and develop a relationship with agriculture.  The farmer grows food to fulfill the needs of known individuals who value the produce rather than for an uncertain market.  No food is wasted.  This provides the farmer with a stable base of economic and social support.

In 1993 Good Humus started a CSA with ten friends.  Now our farm has 175 families that receive vegetables and fruit once a week for 48 weeks out of the year. Optional fruit and flowers shares are also available.  We deliver to families in the Sacramento region in the Davis and also shares to San Francisco.

  

MAKING THE CONNECTION

CSA is an opportunity for you to:

·    Create a direct relationship between your farmer and producer of freshly harvested, locally grown, organic  fruits and vegetables.

 

·    Participating gives you the opportunity to keep your food dollars local.

 

·    Produce harvested at its ripest has more flavor, is tastier and with some interesting and unusual varieties of produce it gives you a surprise each week.

 

·    You will also be assuring your support for a positive affect on environmentally sustainable agriculture.

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History Of The CSA

 

THE BEGINNING OF A MOVEMENT

TEIKEI starts in JAPAN Or Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) in the United States

 

The emergence of the Teikei system in l971 in Japan is a continuation of the complex interaction between agriculture and culture.  The Japanese population has been supported by an unchanged diet of rice, wheat, vegetables and fish for more than 2000 years.  The volume of production of these staple foods was always a vital factor in supporting their population.  The farming systems practiced were specific to maintain the soil fertility and production.  The soil enriching knowledge of compost and the usage of plants was established and passed from generation to generation.

 

The war years which started in l937 with the invasion of China and continued to l945 caused the country’s resources to be depleted.  The work force was sent to war, the resources were given to the war effort, and agricultural resources became scarce. The country was closed in those years so there was no imported food, and by the end of the war there was a food crisis that took over a decade to recover.  The traditional farming systems disappeared rapidly with the introduction of Western techniques.  Labor and time saving farming systems found many people forced to move to the larger cities and into the industrial labor force.  Mechanization, mono-cropping, and chemical aids increased year after year resulting in greater yields. But, with the chemical applications came the indicators first questioning food safety.  In the late sixties, a series of food disasters occurred. In 1968, cadmium was found in fish in Tokyo Bay; in 1969 DDT-BHC was found in cow and mothers milk after too many infants were hospitalized with severe cases of diarrhea.  Minamata disease, created by heavy metal pollution, was caused by industries dumping mercury waste into the ocean. 10,000 people became ill and many died.  Farmers and fisherman who worked close to the land and sea, suffered most from exposure to chemicals, and hoped by returning to lower yields in the short term, for safer production in the long run. The market, however, had no place for the "organic", "safe" foods being produced at higher short term costs.

 

Consumers who were concerned about the food safety and community problems, usually housewives, began to demand local organic products and additive free foods. These women, who were primarily responsible for feeding the family, were not only seeking food safety, but also the kyodatai or "community" that was lost in the move to the city. So some of the more politicized and educated urban housewives began to gather together to solve the problems that were too difficult to solve individually.  They organized consumer cooperatives and found local organic farmers willing to cooperate. One consumer group member recalls, "I first wanted good milk for my children, and then I realized we could find other basics, like safe vegetables, from nearby farmers." This was the beginning of Teikei or face to face relationships in Japan, and the concept has spread around the world.


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