Consumer Supported Agriculture

photo by AndyRobertsPhotos via flickr (Creative Commons)

photo by AndyRobertsPhotos via flickr (Creative Commons)

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) was conceptualized by a small group of Japanese women in the 1960’s who were concerned about the effects of pesticides and processed foods on their communities. The Teikei Movement, as they came to be called, connected consumers with local growers.

photo by UGA College of Ag via flickr (Creative Commons)

photo by UGA College of Ag via flickr (Creative Commons)

Teikei translates to mean “partnership or cooperation” but the members of the group say it means “food with the farmer’s face on it.” It took nearly 20 years for the idea of locally grown food shared in local exchanges to reach the USA and now, in 2013, there are multiple farms and nurseries throughout Maryland area carrying on the tradition.

At its most basic level a CSA is about local consumers investing in a farm and sharing in the risks and rewards of small scale local agriculture. A fee is paid at the beginning of the season to reserve a rotating selection of fruits and vegetables, something new and different every week. Consumers can see where their food comes from, put a face to their farmer and can reap the rewards of having a garden without tending it or even having a yard to plant in.

Ilene and Phil Freedman, House in the Woods Farm

Ilene and Phil Freedman, House in the Woods Farm

An example of this is “House in the Woods Farm” (www.houseinthewoods.com) located in Adamstown, Maryland. From its unlikely beginning as a monthly music series, Ilene and Phil at the House in the Woods Farm have built a CSA and community farm that grows nearly 200 varieties of vegetables, herbs and flowers, all certified organic and GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) free. In order to further their goals of Environmental Education the House in the Woods CSA is founded on a participatory agreement. Some CSA members promise to help out on the farm several times during the growing season, developing a connection with nature and a strong sense of where their food
comes from.

House in the Woods Farm, www.houseinthewoods.com

House in the Woods Farm, www.houseinthewoods.com