Having worked in CSA (community-supported agriculture) for a summer, this type of garden holds a special place in my heart. In 1999, I had the privilege of being part of CSA in St. Joseph, MN and was introduced to the world of organic gardening. The subscribers to Common Ground Garden were dedicated individuals who believed in the importance of farming and produce without pesticides. My eyes were opened to the vast array of vegetables as well as the plethora of cooking options when it came to consuming them. I’m happy to report that this particular community garden has flourished and is still providing delicious organic produce to its members while also donating a portion every week to a local food shelf in St. Cloud.
CSAs are becoming more popular throughout the Twin Cities. In fact, just within the last several years, a revolution of sorts has occurred when it comes to growing and consuming vegetables in this manner. According to a recent article in the Star Tribune, over the past decade, the number of Twin Cities-area residents getting their food through community-supported agriculture has nearly tripled to more than 11,000 people. Twenty years ago, there were two CSA farms. This year there are 81, according to the Land Stewardship Project, which publishes a directory.
A subscriber of a CSA pays a farmer for a weekly share of the crops, typically around $200 to $600 per growing season. This concept started in Europe and Japan, and then took root in the US in the 1980s. More and more people are coming to understand the importance of local produce, assisting in the growth and promotion of CSAs as a whole. My colleague Clark Gregor wrote about his experience as a new CSA subscriber in a previous blog post.
Interested in signing up? Check out the following details about the specifics. CSAs are a terrific option for those with limited growing space, limited gardening skills, and of course for all people who love fresh, local, organic produce.
Do you want to support local farmers but aren't sure you want to subscribe to a CSA plan? Check out one of the many farmers' markets throughout the Twin Cities during the summer and fall. Today and every Thursday through October, you can enjoy the farmers' market on Nicollet Mall, just steps from the Opus College of Business campus in downtown Minneapolis. I just might see you there!