Posted October 16, 2013
A recently enacted law defining Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and establishing health and safety standards will level the playing field for CSA programs in California, according to an AgAlert article available here.
Ryan Casey, a Pescadero farmer who has built his community supported agriculture program to more than 200 subscribers, says that running a CSA business has become increasingly competitive as bigger operations have entered the business.
Before the enactment of AB 224, anyone could market their business as a CSA while adding additional popular items like bananas and papayas grown outside of the United States.
AB 224 defines CSA, covers safe handling of farm products, includes trace-back requirements, and requires a $100 annual fee for oversight services through the California Department of Food and Agriculture. The law requires farmers who grow fruits and vegetables, shell eggs or value added farm products and sell directly to consumers through a subscription process to register and specify whether their products come from a single producer or multiple farms.
Assemblyman Rich Gordon, D-Menlo Park, sponsored AB 224, which was also supported by the California Farm Bureau Federation and other stakeholder groups. Gordon said that the law addresses past confusion about what CSAs are and how they are regulated by providing a process for CSA farmers to register and self-certify that they follow best practices.
Casey said, “What I hope we’ll gain through this new state law is an orderly marketplace and a level playing field.”
California Governor, Jerry Brown, recently signed AB 224 and two other pieces of “Farm to Fork” legislation. A recent post from this blog on this story is available here.
For more information on CSA and Local Food Systems, please visit the National Agricultural Law Center’s website here.