Harvest Public Media
5:35 pm
Tue June 18, 2013

The Business of Running a CSA

In a two-part series, Harvest Public Media explores the challenges facing Community Supported Agriculture operations, or CSAs.

Part 1 of the series focuses on one of the country’s largest CSA share providers, which went bankrupt last year. Grant Family Farms in Northern Colorado launched an organic CSA back in 2007 with 127 members and peaked with more than 5,000 in 2012.

The story behind why Grant Family Farms went bankrupt is complicated. But it also sheds light on whether a CSA can become too big.

Michael Baute farms three acres in Fort Collins, Colo. One-third of Spring Kite Farms goes to the farm’s CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture, clients.
Michael Baute farms three acres in Fort Collins, Colo. One-third of Spring Kite Farms goes to the farm’s CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture, clients.
Credit Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

Part 2 of the series explores how tricky it can be to run a CSA. 

Farmers, some of whom have limited business experience, must quickly learn how to market products, build customer loyalty, advertise, manage risk and diversify their revenue sources. CSAs, depending on their member involvement, often force farmers to turn a portion of their operation into a customer service business.