University of Maryland Extension

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.

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