What Is Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)?

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I love the idea of a farmer’s market. Getting up early, grabbing a coffee from a fancy café, strolling hand in hand with my husband while our 2-year-old toddles around learning about all the different produce. It sounds like a dream. And maybe twice a year it is that idyllic. In reality, it can also be a lot of work (especially with little ones). Add in rainy weather, missing the best selection because you were late, fussy kids who don’t want to walk or be pushed in a stroller, and it’s enough to make you wish you would’ve just slept in. So during those weeks that an Instagram worthy farmer’s market trip just isn’t in the cards, where can a mom get fresh produce for her family? Surprisingly, the answer is most likely your city’s best kept secret – Community Supported Agriculture (CSA).

What Is a CSA?

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), is a way for people to buy food directly from local farmers. You purchase a “share” from a farm in your town, and receive a box of produce in return. Think of it like a subscription service. Weekly boxes can be extremely varied, are often organic, and may even have options for extras like meat or honey. You can pick up your share in person and some CSA’s even deliver! Boxes are usually packed based on available produce each week. It’s fun for the whole family to learn about the new fruits and vegetables you receive in your order and how to cook them.

A CSA provides all the benefits of farmer market’s produce with the convenience of a subscription. You are guaranteed a box each week (weather permitting of course, farming can be a gamble!). The quality of just harvested produce is better than anything you’ll find in a grocery store. By purchasing a share to a CSA, you are ensuring your money supports local agriculture and your community at the same time!

MSU’s Student Organic Farm

My family belongs to Michigan State University’s Student Organic Farm which operates right on campus. There are several shares you can pick from, including a Summer Veggie Share and a Fall Veggie Share. The Peak Season share, which runs 5 weeks from July to August, is a great way to test out if a CSA membership is a good fit for your family. Shares are available weekly or bi-weekly. Pickup is under strict COVID protocols right now, including requiring you to wear a mask and stay in your vehicle for curbside pickup. Even with these restrictions, it’s still a great experience for the whole family to visit campus.

In addition, MSU’s Student Organic Farm also provides Market Shares. These are similar to a farmer’s market in that you can choose exactly what you want each week from their online store. Pickup is the same as the CSA, but you are guaranteed only the produce you want. This is a great option for small families or those trying to expose new foods to their picky eaters without wasting food.

CSA’s in the Greater Lansing Area

The greater Lansing area has several CSA’s for your family to try out! Some are entirely produce, while some (like Ham Sweet Farm) are meat based. All of the CSA’s offer your family the very best organic food and a chance to support your community.

Owosso Organics

Agape Organic Farms

Titus Farms

Trillium Wood Farm

Ham Sweet Farm

Allen Neighborhood Center

Tender Heart Gardens (coming soon)

Have a weekend that you want to head to the Farmer’s Market? Head here to our Guide to Farmer’s Markets in and Around Lansing

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