Each spring we buy a “share” from our farmer. In return, we get ultra-fresh local, organic produce delivered right to our town each week throughout the growing season. Opening the heavy, overflowing box of assorted colors has gotten to be like unwrapping a Christmas present for my kids, husband and me! We know that Farmer Jillian will always send good recipes to try! While we are not yet able to keep up with our own garden (kids ages 7, 5, 3, and 1 with two working parents), we have visited OUR farm, eaten directly out of its fields, and can imagine where each yummy piece of our weekly box comes from!
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) exemplifies the farm-to-table concept. CSAs connect local farmers with local consumers by providing fresh produce on a weekly basis. Consumers pay for a share of the crops before planting season and every week the shareholders receive fresh food boxes from the local farms based on what is harvested. Shareholders or members usually pick up their boxes from a drop-site or from the farm itself.
Nine CSAs operate within the greater La Crosse area, including Small Family Farm, situated on 21 acres in La Farge. This CSA is run by young farmers who believe in consumers knowing the farmers who produce their food. Harvesting 100 varieties of vegetables, this certified organic farm supports about 100 members from the area.
CSAs have grown in other ways. Some area CSAs are also members of the FairShare CSA Coalition, headquartered in Madison, which started in 1992 and has grown to nearly 50 farms and 9,500 shares. These farms provide fresh produce to about 25,000 people each year.
For a list of CSAs, visit our CSA resource page.