SAUCIER, MS (WLOX) - A relatively young farming concept is making its way across our nation. It's called Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA.
Although the idea hasn't taken South Mississippi by storm, there is a local farm that has found success using it.
It's an agricultural movement that has gained popularity along the West Coast. That's where Aaron Brown and his wife, Lynnise, drew inspiration for their Saucier farm.
"We wanted to introduce that to South Mississippi," Brown said.
Aaron said he and his wife wanted to offer their community an option to buy a local, pesticide free, healthy product. In order to be successful, they knew they had to have supporters who were on the same page.
"We're a firm believer in know your food, know your farmer," said Brown.
The couple opened up their CSA co-op about six months ago to much success.
"It gives the community a sense of being a part of something, and the feedback I'm getting is that that's what a lot of people like," said Brown.
The concept gets people involved on the farm by offering memberships. Members pay an up-front fee, which allows them to bring home a share of the produce.
Right now, Farmer Brown Southern Farms has 58 members, including one retail store.
"When you get organic foods, they taste like what food used to taste like," said Valerie Pitalo, owner of Health Nuts in Gulfport.
According to Pitalo, she signed up to be a member because the arrangement doesn't just benefit the farm.
"It's such a mutually beneficial relationship that we have with them," said Pitalo.
As a small business owner, she says she knows how important it is to support other small businesses. Pitalo said there's one product in particular that makes the membership worth it.
"The best eggs I've ever had," Pitalo said.
Even though the farm's popularity is growing, Brown and his wife are capping their membership after another 50 members join for the spring. They are enjoying the success, but don't want to lose their local farm feel.
"I know that we'll stay true to that," Brown said.
Brown said there are several benefits to this new way of farming. It gives him and his wife a chance to know the people who consume their produce, and the fact that money comes in on the front end of a crop helps the farm with cash flow.
To find out more about Farmer Brown Southern Farms CSA, visit the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/farmerbrownsouthern.farms.