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I’m Down With CSA, Are You?

December 5, 2008

So, what is CSA?  

First, what does CSA stand for?  Answer: Community Supported Agriculture.  

CSA is best described as a partnership between farm and community.  This partnership takes place by either a legal commitment where the community (consumer/customer) purchases shares or coupons for future harvests, by simply promising to make a future purchase or by physically supporting the farm in volunteerism.  

Why would farms need CSA?

Farming is not as prominent as it once was, mostly due to costs.  When supermarkets started mating in the late eighties, the small shops and farms were greatly threatened.  Since then, some farmers have been lucky enough to strike deals with the supermarkets and others can hold their heads above the water by way of Farmers’ Markets.  Still, a farmer’s life is not an easy one.  There are back breaking days, and many variables such as weather and livestock health to deal with.  It seems that being a farmer is akin to rolling dice at the Craps table.

What can I do to help?

Well, for starters, frequent your local Farmers’ Market.  If you are far from ‘home’, such as myself, you can visit sites such as LocalHarvest.org  and purchase items that can be shipped or search for the closest farm to visit.  

How does this tie into knitting?

All this talk of farms and I just realized – I have not mentioned the knitter/spinner/crocheter reason for considering partnership with a CSA farm – wool.  Yes, lots and lots of wool.  Shepherds are also farmers and many offer opportunities to get involved.  So, you don’t want fleece right off the sheep?  That’s ok, some farms offer scoured fleece, roving, top and even spun yarn!  Be sure to inquire details about the product you will receive.  

Where can I find a Shepherd or Wool Farm?

There are so many out there, you might be surprised to learn of one in your area!  First try LocalHarvest.org and use their search engine.  You can also try The New Farm Locator by the Rodale Institute.  

Below are links to a few farms and their specialty breed:

Serenity Farms – Fine Corriedale

Bloomin Acres Farm – Icelandic

Grand View Farm – Romney and Cormo

Martha’s Vineyard Farm – Cormo and  Cotswold Sheep and Angora Goats

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