Supporting Local Agriculture with CSA

csa barnSOUTH WHEELOCK - In a modern business world, farmers have to make ends meet. One of the ways they can do that, is through Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA.

Over 65 farms participate in CSA programs throughout the state of Vermont as a way to supplement their earnings through the seasons.

Denis Hershey has been a farmer in Lyndonville for most of his life. He works for The Chandler Pond Farm harvesting their crops. He says, "the spring. That's the hardest time to collect some money to pay (for) seed and labor cost."

Local members can be a part of the CSA, by buying a membership with a particular farm. Farmers call it a "share", where members are buying into a share of the farm. Shares are given to members in boxes with product to feed a two to four person household. As an added bonus, members save about 20% on their produce bills by being part of the CSA.

"What's satisfying to me is I'm providing a quality food that people need in order to live. That's rewarding to me," said Dennis.

CSA membership costs are decided by the farmer examining costs of materials and production. But often times, CSA memberships don't cover the complete costs.

"Families signing up for a CSA and paying early, essentially helping us get started, where other farmers have to take a loan out for their starting expenses and pay it back every year. That's how most farms have operated in America for fifty years," said Tamara Martin who runs Chandler Pond Farm.

There are no limits on membership to CSA's. And members get to experience more than just the benefits of fresh produce. Farmers provide opportunities for members to experience a farms job first hand and open a members eyes to produce that may not be available at your local grocery stores.