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Community Supported Agriculture partnerships (CSAs) are a fantastic option for all of your produce needs this summer and fall. In a CSA customers pay upfront for the entire season (typically from June-November). They are investing in the farm by essentially purchasing a share of it. This upfront payment enables farmers to finance the early stages of growing – seeds, equipment, labor, etc. Customers can choose how much they want to be included in their deliveries. These are typically weekly or bi-weekly and scaled for the size of the household. There are two main types of CSAs: workplace and community. Produce and other products such as honey, eggs or even meat, are packaged and delivered to a convenient place for customers to pick up, either in the community or right at their place of work.

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CSAs have similarities to farmers’ markets because they both encourage purchasing fresh, local, seasonal produce and connecting with farmers. Customers can shop from many different farmers at a farmers’ market, but a CSA partnership provides produces from one farm directly.

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CSAs are beneficial for a multitude of reasons. They eliminate the ‘middle man,’ and are simultaneously less expensive for purchasers and more profitable for farmers. The products are fresh, because they are grown locally so they do not have to be treated with chemicals in order to travel long distances. Additionally, participating farms typically use traditional, organic growing practices. Finally, CSAs create a connection between farmers and buyers through interactions at pick-up locations. Memberships may also include recipes, visits to the farms, and educational opportunities on cooking and storing produce.

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Comcast NBCUniversal employees in New York City participate in a CSA with Katchkie Farm. Employees can become members and have weekly shares of food delivered right to the office. Katchkie Farm is also a part of the Just Food CSA Network – a ground-breaking organization in NYC. CSAs exist all over the country and are an ever growing and expanding model. Head here to find one near you!