Are you ready for a road trip? This guide to Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) will take you from coast to coast to learn about the many CSA programs that can be found across Canada. But you likely won’t have to go far to enjoy the delicious organic food that CSAs provide — we’ll share interactive maps and directories so that you can find out what’s growing in your community.
Here are some quick tips about CSAs in Canada.
1) First things first – what is Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)?
CSAs are a great way to support local farmers. When you join a CSA, you are purchasing a share of the farm’s harvest at the beginning of the growing season. Then, throughout the season, you will receive fresh produce!
Joining your local farm’s CSA helps support them by taking out some of the guesswork about how many consumers they will have for the food they produce! It also gives them an infusion of funds at the beginning of the growing season so they can invest in making their crops really great!
CSA’s offer other feel-good opportunities too. Joining a CSA gives you the opportunity to get to know your local farm — and where your food is coming from — a bit better. Many CSAs also offer a community share option, which allows members to buy a share for a neighbour who isn’t able to invest in the CSA themselves. The community-oriented nature of CSAs is a big draw for lots of people.
But in the simplest terms, joining a CSA means signing up for a weekly, biweekly or monthly box of farm-fresh products.
2) There’s no shame in asking for directions
Farmers and related organizations are making it easier than ever to take part in CSAs. Here are some easy-to-use directories and interactive maps so that you can pinpoint local providers closest to you.
- British Columbia: Farm Folk City Folk
- Alberta: Alberta Open Farm Days
- Manitoba: CSA Manitoba
- Quebec: Paniers bio équiterre
- Atlantic Canada: ACORN organics
- Ontario: Organic Council of Ontario Directory
Not finding something near you through those lists? Don’t worry, we’ve still got you covered! Here are some other routes to Community Supported Agriculture.
3) Local Farmers’ Markets
Local farmers’ markets are a great place to start if you aren’t able to find anything close to you through the directories above. Many CSA providers often participate in these markets, and you can ask if they have any programs available.
4) Local food organizations
Local food organizations sometimes provide their own CSA box subscriptions, or have connections to farmers that do. They’ll also likely have community outreach programs, groups and events aimed at further connecting people to local, sustainable agriculture.
5) Government agricultural departments
Governments provide funding, strategies and support to local farmers. Contacting your local agricultural department directly is a good way to find out what they’re doing to support CSAs and how you can access these programs.
We hope to have sent you well on your way to finding the CSA box or program of your dreams. If you still have any burning questions, or simply want to dig deeper into all things organic, check out the Organically Canadian Resource Hub for blogs, quizzes and more — or find out the answers to some frequently asked questions.