Cooperative partnerships between local farmers and consumers that create economically stable farming operations, reconnect local residents with their local agricultural base, provide a guaranteed market for growers and ensure availability to consumers of freshly picked produce at a reasonable price. At the beginning of the growing season, consumers purchase a "share" of the season's harvest. Revenue from the shares is used to purchase seeds and other supplies, pay for labour and equipment and cover other operating expenses. In return for their investment, each consumer receives a weekly supply, usually enough for a family of four, of fresh, often organic, fruits, vegetables and herbs. Flowers, meat, honey, eggs and dairy products may be available through some CSA programs. Also included are programs that make shares in CSA programs more accessible to low-income households by paying all or a portion of the cost of a farm share.
Programs that enable farmers to gather in empty parking areas or similar spaces and sell freshly picked produce directly to consumers at lower than retail but higher than wholesale prices.
Food markets that accept online and/or telephone orders and deliver food and household supplies to the homes of people who are unable to go out and shop on their own behalf or who prefer to have their groceries delivered. Also included are food pantries that deliver the food to people with illnesses, disabilities, transportation issues or other extenuating circumstances which prevent them from picking it up; and programs that place online orders for older adults, people with disabilities and individuals who are struggle with using a computer or have no Internet access.
Retail markets that sell food and household merchandise. Some establishments may specialize in a particular type of product, e.g., fruits and vegetables or fish.
Programs organized by growers that allow customers to come into their fields and pick or harvest the produce they want to purchase. Prices are lower than retail, and picking baskets and ladders are often provided.
The above terms and definitions are part of the Taxonomy of Human Services, used here by permission of INFO LINE of Los Angeles.