While CSAs, Community Supported Agriculture, are extremely popular and a growing segment of the locally sourced food movement, what hasn’t happened as quickly is the growth of USDA Certified Organic CSAs.
The reason why is simple: the cost built into the USDA organic certification process limits small growers who may follow organic practices. The cost is high—several thousand to start along with a ton of paperwork and ongoing cost for annual recertification, creating a chilling effect on those who want small organic produce operations. However, one of the benefits is an emphasis on quality food.
Localharvest.org is an online clearinghouse for CSAs and local produce, allowing easy access to find specialty locally sourced foods., both CSAs (they have 809 on the website) and local food/non CSA. Of the CSAs and local farms, Localharvest features about 251 producers who bill themselves as organic. Ranked with 5 stars, and notably offering USDA organic produce, is Virginia Green Grocer, located in Warrenton, Virginia. They are also an organizer of the Virginia Organic Co-Operative, offering produce to the Washington DC metropolitan area.
For more information on CSAs and local sources of organic food in your area, check out www.localharvest.org.