CSA Information for Farmers | Project Green Leaf

CSA Information for Farmers

Children at farmAdvantages

A CSA arrangement can be a valuable part of your farm operation. This method of direct marketing provides:

  • Capital at a time when it is needed most
  • Shared risks among members and farmer
  • A guaranteed market for a portion of what you plant, before you plant it
  • A set price
  • Reduced labor costs with member involvement
  • A vital link to consumers and community

Like other direct marketing methods, CSA arrangements provide farmers an opportunity to sell their product locally and have direct contact with customers.


Operating a CSA arrangement presents certain challenges to many farmers. There are several things to consider before starting a CSA arrangement:

  • Management skills
  • People and public relations skills
  • The size of membership in relation to production capacity
  • What to grow, how much to grow and when to harvest
  • Time needed for picking and packing shares
  • Method and place of distribution
  • Coordinating workdays and volunteer labor
  • Writing a weekly newsletter

Starting a CSA

Find out if there is a demand or interest in your area for a CSA arrangement. Talk with people in the community or conduct informal surveys to determine their interests. If the interest is there, then the next step is getting the word out. Develop a brochure or flyer describing your CSA arrangement and offer details about your particular operation. Provide a list of products you plan to plant throughout the growing season. Advertise in local newspapers or distribute brochures or flyers at local health food stores, community centers, farmers markets, etc. Emphasize to consumers that CSA arrangements:

  • Build community
  • Link consumers to their food providers
  • Encourage social responsibility towards stewarding the earth
  • Provide a source for fresh, local farm products
  • Support local farms and farmers

Maintain a close connection with your members throughout the season. Encourage feedback from them to help you plan for the following year. You may consider publishing a monthly newsletter containing farm news, recipes, or tips on canning and preserving. Consider having a farm work-day, an open house, or pot luck dinner at your farm.

An excellent resource for those farmers interested in starting a CSA arrangement is the book, Sharing the Harvest: A Guide to Community Supported Agriculture by Elizabeth Henderson with Robin Van En.

For more information about how to start a CSA arrangement or information about potential members, contact Project Green Leaf at: s_andrea@uncg.edu