Community-support agriculture, also known as CSA or farm sharing, is a system of farming in which farm owners sell shares in their produce to members of the community. Then, instead of selling their produce through normal distribution methods, the farm owners deliver a box of produce to each shareholder weekly or bi-weekly during the harvest season. Farm shares are generally purchased with money, but some farms participate in a program whereby the shareholder can work a specific number of hours per week in the farm in exchange for their box of produce.
Farms participating in community-supported agriculture tend to have challenges different from those of standard farms. First, they need to vary their crops much more than a standard farm does. While a standard farm is free to specialize in one crop, such as corn or wheat, a community-supported farm needs to act much more like a very large garden in order to attract shareholders. Another benefit of growing a variety of products is that shareholders will receive produce throughout nearly all of the growing season, instead of being limited to the harvest season of one particular crop. Finally, community-supported farms need to invest more money in delivering their produce, which usually involves preparing a box for each individual shareholder and delivering the boxes to one or more common areas where shareholders can pick them up.
With the heightened wariness towards food from unknown sources and the current push to "buy local," community-supported agriculture has been growing in popularity. Many farms have been working to increase the feeling of community among their members and will hold events at the farm in order to allow members to meet each other and socialize.