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Sharing the Harvest

A Citizen's Guide to Community Supported Agriculture, 2nd Edition

By Elizabeth Henderson, Robyn Van En


To an increasing number of American families the CSA (community supported agriculture) is the answer to the globalization of our food supply. The premise is simple: create a partnership between local farmers and nearby consumers, who become members or subscribers in support of the farm. In exchange for paying in advance–at the beginning of the growing season, when the farm needs financing–CSA members receive the freshest, healthiest produce throughout the season and keep money, jobs, and farms in their own community.

In this thoroughly revised and expanded edition of a Chelsea Green classic, authors Henderson and Van En provide new insight into making CSA not only a viable economic model, but the right choice for food lovers and farmers alike. Thinking and buying local is quickly moving from a novel idea to a mainstream activity. The groundbreaking first edition helped spark a movement and, with this revised edition, Sharing the Harvest is poised to lead the way toward a revitalized agriculture.

Reviews and Praise

Since the first edition of this title was released in 1997, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and the locally grown food movement have become much more mainstream. This heavily revised, excellent new edition will surely cement the title’s reputation as a bible for interested growers and consumers alike. Each chapter is extensively updated with new data, case studies, and quotes, but the general overview maintains the first edition’s mix of both the highly practical (“Money Matters for CSAs”) and the more philosophical, in sections that explore the connections between biodiversity and social diversity. Each chapter, illustrated with small black-and-white photos and graphs, closes with source notes, and a lengthy resource section, highlighting organizations and publications for further research, concludes the volume. Those interested in starting a new CSA will find useful ideas, but this is intended more as a comprehensive survey of the subject for all readers who are concerned about the food industry and the future of agriculture. Suggest to readers of Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food (2008).

"If we want to keep farmers in business, it's time for all of us, ordinary citizens and policy makers alike, to begin learning how that might be done. Sharing the Harvest is a great place to start."--Joan Dye Gussow, from the Foreword

"Community Supported Agriculture has the possibility, even the likelihood, of transforming community, farming, eating, and economics in the U.S. Elizabeth Henderson's update of Sharing the Harvest offers timely tools for keeping this evolutionary movement on track."--John Peterson, Angelic Organics

"Sharing the Harvest is an essential book for anyone considering starting a community supported agriculture (CSA) farm and for recent CSA farmers--it is essentially the CSA 'bible'. Sharing the Harvest provides a comprehensive approach to this relatively new social approach to farming, and it may be useful to people who have recently discovered the importance and joy of eating locally-grown food, helping them participate in starting a CSA so they can have an even more direct connection to their food and the farmer who grows it."--Fred Magdoff, Emeritus Professor of Plant & Soil Science, University of Vermont

"We hunger for a true connection to what's on our plates. We want to know who grows our food and where, how it's grown and why. We want to participate in a food system that is ecological, just, nourishing, and connected to community. The CSA movement offers all this and more. This book is an essential guide to understanding what it's all about, and to making it happen!"--Jessica Prentice, author of Full Moon Feast

"Sharing the Harvest is an extraordinary book, an opening to a new world in which growing and eating food will be a sharing among humans, between farmers and surrounding communities, not a commercial venture for profit. It is both utopian and practical, inspiring and down-to-earth. It is a treasure, rich with suggestions, exciting for what possibilities it foresees for the human race."--Howard Zinn