Updated: April 11, 2024
By Ginger S. Myers

An introduction to Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) with a focus on sustainability and fresh, local food.

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)

A partnership between consumers and farmers in which consumers pay for farm products in advance and farmers commit to supplying sufficient quantity, quality, and variety of products. This type of arrangement can be initiated by the farmer (farmer directed) or by a group of consumers (participatory).

Discover More About Community Supported Agriculture


  • Community Supported Agriculture Entering the 21st Century (pdf)
    Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems (CIAS)
    College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

    Provides a comprehensive portrait of the CSA movement in the US. This work was updated in a 2nd national survey done in 2001.
  • Enhancing the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Marketing Model in Maryland (FS CRED 01)
    Ginger S. Myers - Director, Maryland Enterprise Development Center and Extension Specialist, University of Maryland Extension.
  • Local Harvest - A Multifarm CSA Handbook, Revised 2010
    Jill Perry & Scott Franzblau
    North Region Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education Program (SARE)

    This publication offers straightforward guidance on cooperative marketing, an innovative practice that is helping CSAs stay strong and viable over the long term. This 130-page book details how farmers in CSA cooperatives can best work together to market their produce, including advice on staffing, volunteer boards, distribution, legal topics and other practical information. 
  • Scaling Up Your Vegetable Farm for Wholesale Markets
    By Andy Zieminski
    Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE)

    For direct market farmers, expanding your operation to capture local and regional wholesale markets can represent an opportunity. But such a shift brings with it many changes to how you run your farm because the expectations that wholesale buyers have is much different than your direct market customers. Scaling Up Your Vegetable Farm for Wholesale Markets guides you through the likely changes you'll need to take into consideration when planning to branch out into wholesale markets. These include business planning, working with wholesale buyers, and areas of production that range from increasing yield and produce quality, to harvest and postharvest handling, food safety and more.
  • Understanding a Community Supported Agriculture Agreement: What Should Be Included in a Good CSA Membership Agreement?

    Community-supported agriculture (CSA) is a growing business model for farms in Maryland and nationally. In a typical CSA, members pledge to help cover the anticipated costs of the farm’s production for part of or the entire season. And in return, the members receive a portion of the farm’s crops over the designated time period of the CSA contract. The CSA model allows farmers to get needed upfront capital at the start of the growing season. At the same time, the model allows members access to fresh locally produced fruits, herbs, meats, or vegetables. At the same time, many growers do not understand how to develop an agreement that works for the business and conveys the risks to the members of the CSA. This publication provides an overview of the model CSA agreement developed by UMD.



  • CSA Across the Nation: Findings from the 1999 CSA Survey (2003)
    Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems (CIAS)
    College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

    Provides the first comprehensive portrait of the CSA movement in the US. Findings from a 1999 national "census" survey show commonalities and diversity among CSA farms.
  • Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Publications
    Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics (AREC) and Agriculture Law Education Initiative (ALEI) partnered with the Maryland Department of Agriculture and Maryland Farm Bureau to develop materials to better aid farmers in developing their own contracts.  These materials have been developed with a Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program grant through USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service.
  • CSA Innovation Network.org
    The CSA Innovation Network is a resource base of programs and tools built by and for individuals and organizations supporting Community Supported Agriculture.
  • CSA Resources for Farmers
    National Agricultural Library, United States Department of Agriculture

    List of selected books, articles, videos, and web links focusing on the business of CSA farming.
  • FairSHARE CSA Coalition
    FairSHARE CSA Coalition is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization in Madison, Wisconsin. Their mission is to support and connect farmers and consumers through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). They envision a future where CSA is the backbone of a strong local food system and where all families have access to locally-produced, organic food from small family farms.