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MINNEAPOLIS - A trend in farming is benefitting some area farms and residents within the community.

Known as a CSA, the project is something that often includes companies and neighborhoods.

"A CSA stands for Community, Supported, Agriculture," started Megan Greeson.

"It's a method of buying produce and for us selling produce," finished Emily Hanson.

Adam and Megan Greeson operate Sweet Top Farm in Hudson.

Emily Hanson helps to run Stone's Throw Urban Farm in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

The two CSAs couldn't be more different.

Stone's Throw is literally in the middle of a Minneapolis neighborhood and encompasses 12 sites across the Twin Cities.

As for Sweet Top, it's a more traditional farm, two acres worth of beets, leafy greens and just about everything else, all located in the outskirts of Hudson, Wis.

The farms are part of a growing group of CSAs that plant, grow and serve the communities around them.

Here's how it works -- Before anything is planted, people purchase shares up front. The shares cost anywhere from $300 to $700 depending on the amount of produce and the location of the CSA.

The shareholders do not have to do a thing. They simply pay and all of the work is done by the CSA.

A typical season lasts 18 to 20 weeks and every week the CSA has something new for the shareholder.

Once the produce is ready, it's picked up and the typical amount of produce each week is about 10 to 15 pounds for a full share, generally enough to feed a family of four.

"It's about $2 a pound for everything from potatoes to high-valued mixed greens to tomatoes," said Hanson.

Two bucks a pound, which beats the price of tomatoes at the supermarket, yet it's a little more than that dollar head of lettuce, but unlike most supermarket items, it's grown locally and just for you.

It is quite an upfront commitment, but the payoff, shareholders will tell you, is well worth it.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has more information about CSAs on its website.

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