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What is a CSA and why you should join one.

WHAT IS A CSA? CSA stands for "Community Supported Agriculture." It's a farm in which members purchase a "crop share" during the winter and early spring before the season begins. Then, throughout the growing season, share members come weekly to pick up their already-paid-for shares of just-harvested fresh organic vegetables at a predetermined location. Shareholders financially support the farmer in advance to grow fresh organic vegetables for them in the upcoming growing season. It is a farm share. A local CSA offers a certain number of "shares" to CSA members.

There are many reasons to join a local CSA and buy a share in a farm's harvest. Some people participate for amazingly fresh food others enjoy the connection to local farmers. Others want to support their local food system and are looking for a simple one-stop way to do so.

Benefits of Organic CSA farming for the environment and future generations: Less CO2 emissions from the energy required to transport and refrigerate produce across long distances. No groundwater pollution from pesticides and fertilizers, which ensures better drinking water for us and future generations.

The content of each week's share truly follows the seasons, as everything is grown from seed to seedling, tended, and then harvested on the premises. Most CSA farms either carry the "naturally grown" or "organic" label, which are fairly similar in their implication – no pesticides or chemical fertilizers, plus sustainable farming practices. In other words, vegetables, you can feel good about eating.

Organic Local CSA produce contains fewer pesticides. Chemicals such as fungicides, herbicides, and insecticides are widely used in conventional agriculture, and residues remain on (and in) the food we eat. Organic food is often fresher because it doesn't contain preservatives.

CSA's are good for your health, community and environment. Check out CSA's in your area at or contact your local Monmouth County CSA pick up locations in West Belmar, Freehold, Howell and Matawan.

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