State Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey is encouraging Iowans to consider joining a Community Supported Agriculture program. Northey says with a CSA program farmers sell subscriptions and then share the harvest with the members.
“They get a portion of the production off that farm, and be able to give a signal to a farmer, that you’re interested in their product and so they can know how much to grow and how much interest there is,” according Northey. He says instead of hoping to find what you want at a farmer’s market, the membership allows for more stable availability of locally grown food.
“And so you sign up not necessarily for products but for a share of the production with a list of the products that the farmer intends to produce,” Northey says. Most CSA programs producers invite customers to visit the farm to learn more about the operation.
Northey says it ends up almost like you are harvesting your own garden, but the farmer does the work and you’re able to enjoy the product each week. Northey says Iowa has seen significant growth in the number of C-S-As. There were just 50 in 2006 and in 2012 there were 90.
CSA members typically receive a bag or box of produce but some producers offer other items such as honey, baked goods, herbs, meat or flowers.