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NC: Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a partnership between grower and consumer with a view to responsibly promote and support local, sustainable agricultural practices for human, environmental and economic benefits.

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Throughout the US and the world CSAs vary in format according to the environment and the needs of the different communities, but basically, most CSAs share a common concept: That a given community will commit to support a local grower who, in turn, will commit to produce especifically for its members. The members of a CSA invest in the up coming growing season by purchasing a share of the harvest in advance. This up front investment allows the farmer to better plan and acquired needed items for the growing season.

The history of CSA traces back to Japan in the mid 60s when homemakers began noticing an increase in imported foods, loss of farmland to developments and migration of farmers to the cities. In 1965 a group of women approached a local family farm with an idea: multiple families would commit to support the farm and the farm in turn would supply the families with fresh vegetables and fruits. Thus the concept of community supported agriculture was born. In a nutshell the philosophy behind the concept is in the term that originated it, teikei, or "food with the farmer's face on it" CSAs didn't come to the US until the 1980s. Today, the number of farms supported by local communities reach over 1000, increasing dramatically each year. CSA members everywhere are supporting regional food systems, securing the agricultural integrity of their region and participating in a community-building experience by getting to know who grows their food.

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