Did you know that the Community Supported Agriculture movement in the United States was born in this region? Temple Wilton Farm in Wilton, NH, and Indian Line Farm in South Egremont, MA, are both credited with developing the beginnings of the CSA model here in the US in the late 1980s. Since then the CSA model has exploded.
Today most farms in our area offer some form of a CSA whether through a boxed share or a prepaid account that can be used at the farm store. There are different sizes, prices, pick-up locations, flexibility, and perks depending on the farm. Shares may be offered from spring through winter meaning you can eat hyperlocal and with the seasons!
The idea of communities coming together to purchase directly from a farmer is both a very old and very new concept. Before the rise of the industrial revolution, most households grew their own food or purchased directly from the farmer at market. As the food chain got longer and food businesses got bigger, the middlemen multiplied, and the provenance of our food was obscured.
The postwar explosion of large-scale industrial agriculture, combined with the burgeoning environmental movement, led to a rise in consumer concerns about pesticide usage, antibiotic usage, and the degradation of farmland. In the late 1970s community farm initiatives began to take shape in Japan and Chile to support small sustainable farms.
At its core, Community Supported Agriculture connects the farmer and consumer in a mutually beneficial partnership. For farmers, their CSA gives them much-needed financial security and allows them to focus their energy on farming in the way that is best for the land, their employees, and community. You get to enjoy the bounty of fresh, organic vegetables, eat with the seasons, support your local economy, and become an integral part of a community. Become a 2023 CSA member! Find a farm near you on the Vital Guide.
CSAs that Aid the Climate
In addition, you can support climate health by purchasing a CSA from a farm that follows climate-friendly practices. Learn more about some of the Upper Valley farms that use these methods here.
Originally published 12/7/20 for Cedar Circle Farm & Education Center.
Updated and republished 12/18/23 for Vital Communities.