Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) enterprises have increased in popularity and number over the years. They are a popular way to buy fresh, local and seasonal food directly from farmers. While their popularity has increased, some misconceptions exist about how they work.
On this weekend’s Town Hall Ohio radio program host Joe Cornely welcomes two Ohio CSAs — Bryn Bird of Bird’s Haven Farms and Todd Schriver of Rock Dove Farms, as well as Ohio State University Extension’s direct marketing expert Julie Fox and Ohio Farm Bureau’s Cara Lawson.
CSAs are farms where customers buy memberships, sometimes called shares or subscriptions. In return the members receive a share of the farm’s harvest each week of the season. Season length varies at each CSA, allowing the customers to pick a CSA that has a season length and variety of crops that appeal to them. There are benefits beyond the fresh produce from a local farmer.
“For us it is a great chance to develop relationships with the families,” Bird said. “We become really integrated into the families; know their children, things that are going on in their lives. It’s a great community builder around a farm and agriculture.”
Ohio has more than 150 CSAs, and numerous Ohio Farm Bureau members operate them. One of these, Green Edge Organic Gardens, was featured in a past issue of Our Ohio magazine. The farm will be hosting a Grow and Know “Tasting the Season” March 25. At the event Farm Bureau members can learn more about CSAs, talk to current CSA members, and learn how to get involved.
Town Hall Ohio airs on 11 stations throughout the state. Visit the Town Hall Ohio website for affiliates, broadcast times or to listen to past shows.