A Guide to Community Supported Agriculture (CSA ) in Central Ohio

Since the 1800’s as European pioneers bypassed the east coast in favor of the fertile soils of the Midwest, Central Ohio farms have produced more than it’s share of food. 1Today, of Ohio’s 77,000 farms, 90% are run by families and / or individuals – making the rising popularity of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA’s ) anything but suprising.

CSA’s strive to provide the local consumer with a vibrant, healthy alternative to chemical / hormone laced food bringing a sustainable, ecological brand of food from the local grower directly to the local fork. The CSA farmer will usually offer the consumer a “subscription” in exchange for a weekly box of fresh, organic produce. The subscription will typically cover membership for an 18 -20 week cycle as an upfront fee. On average fees will range from $350. – $500. depending on the number of individuals participating. A family of four, for example would require a larger produce package.

Markets such as the North Market in downtown Columbus, OH display many of these local growers. The Greener Grocer offers fresh fruits and produce as well as an organic catering service to central Ohio. Just this Farm’s owner Kevin Eigel is operating his third CSA and encourages his subscribers to visit his farm in Galloway, Ohio. Adam Welly and Jaime Moore of Wayward Seed Farm offer a unique variety of produce including black Tuscan kale, Chioggia squash, and cipollini onions which they supply to many upscale restaurants in Columbus.

Some CSA participant like Flying J Farms in Johnstown, Ohio offer an array of educational materials, hands on farming and entertainment events. Activities include a Maple syrup festival in February, a wild mushroom hunt in April, and numerous music, dancing events at their Entertainment Barn throughout the year.

The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association website is a wonderful resource to learn about and locate local family farms and CSA’s. One has the ability to search by product, name, and county. So, for example – Grass fed beef is used as search item: A large list of local cattle producers will appear.

As consumers become more aware of the benefits of organic foods and the health risks involved with the corporate food industry, look for CSA to continue to gain popularity. It is a concept based on “grass root” efforts by individuals trying to make a living by improving the health and overall quality of life of their own community. Like the saying goes: ” Bringing the food from farmer to fork”.

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