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Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a kind of direct farm marketing with certain common characteristics, including an emphasis on community and/or local produce, a share/subscription system sold prior to the season, and periodic deliveries to members/subscribers.


CSA is relatively new to the United States, beginning in Massachusetts in 1986 and growing to 60 CSA farms in the U.S. in 1990. The CSA structure grew significantly in popularity among both producers and consumers during the 2000s; by 2009, as many as 6,000 farms were operating a CSA. The 2015 USDA Local Food Marketing Practices Survey reported 7,398 farms nationally selling by CSA for a sales value of $226 million. There were nearly 60 CSAs listed for Kentucky, in 2016, in the Kentucky Department of Agriculture CSA directory. The CSA marketing channel continues to increase in popularity, moving to new demographics besides the original core affluent urban consumer. 

Key Considerations:

  • Community
  • Delivery
  • Pricing Shares
  • Consistency
  • Communication
  • Know your customers
  • Competition for Consumers
  • Legal Issues