About Community Supported Agriculture

What is Community Supported Agriculture?

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a socio-economic model of agriculture and food distribution. A CSA consists of a community of individuals who pledge support to a farm operation so that the community becomes closely connected with the farm, with the growers and consumers providing mutual support and sharing the risks and benefits of food production. Community Supported Agriculture’s focus is usually on a system of weekly delivery or pick-up of vegetables and fruit, sometimes dairy products and meat.

We believe in the idea of a "community farm", a farm that's local and embodies all of the qualities of healthy community. Words that describe this are healthy relationship, integrity, accountability, mutual support, long term viability, and wisdom.

What makes the Kootenay Grain CSA unique?

The Kootenay Grain CSA is the first of its kind in Canada. We thought it desirable to apply a modified CSA model to grain production because it's the most sustainable, sensible, and sane method of food production and exchange that exists. Our grain initiative adopts many of the principles and practices of a standard CSA:

  • our farmers are guaranteed a fair and livable income;
  • the grains are grown using sustainable, organic methods;
  • shareholders receive only what the farms are able to produce and pay a full share price in return;
  • shareholders have the opportunity to visit the farms;
  • shareholders receive information and education regarding the CSA via a newsletter and website;

We differ from the traditional CSA model in three ways:

  • shareholders do not participate with producing the crops;
  • a shareholder receives all of her share at once, at harvest time;
  • and the farmer is permitted to sell any grain produced above the agreed upon amount.

The main reason why we have set up this project in such a way that farmers can sell their surplus is to honour the fact that the farmers are not using all their land for our project, yet they are growing more than they believe will be needed to fill our shares so we are more likely to receive the full estimated share amount. As this project evolves, we may alter this arrangement to best suit the needs of both the farmer and eater.

We are extremely grateful to our farmers for their willingness to experiment and make the often extraordinarily labour-intensive efforts to adapt and take on specialized tasks like cleaning grain, weighing, packaging, sewing bags shut, labeling, and other challenges that were not part of traditional grain production. This project has been about finding ways to be fair, and to develop supportive relationships between growers and consumers.