What is Community-Supported Agriculture? We’ve Got an Explanation – And A List of Chicago Farm Shares.

Meredith Francis
Boxes of produce like potatoes, carrots, onions, and tomoatoes
Community-supported agriculture is a “mutually beneficial relationship” between the farmer and the consumer that allows a person to buy a share of a local farmer's product

It’s no secret that price tags at the grocery store are ticking quickly upward amid inflation. While farmers’ markets sometimes have the reputation of being more expensive than a trip to the grocery store, some studies in the last decade have suggested that prices for some items can be lower at the markets. And there’s another option, too. Community-supported agriculture (CSA), sometimes called farm shares, is often described as a “mutually beneficial relationship” between the farmer and the consumer.

So what is community-supported agriculture? According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, CSAs are made up of “a community of individuals who pledge support to a farm operation so that the farmland becomes, either legally or spiritually, the community’s farm.” In other words, the consumer pays the farmer a sum of money, and each week or month, that consumer gets a share of a local farmer’s product. That share usually looks like a box or bag of the farmer’s goods.

CSAs come in all shapes and sizes, with everything from meats, fruits, vegetables, dairy, and other pantry staples. Some offer smaller, pay-as-you-go weekly or monthly boxes, while others offer a year-long subscription where you pay for it all up-front. The different types of CSAs allow for some flexibility depending on how big your family is or what your income is. Some offer delivery, while others have designated pick-up locations. One CSA might be a cohort of farms on the South Side, while another might be a single family farm in more rural parts of the state or surrounding states.

Below are just some of the CSAs serving the Chicago area. A few important notes: the prices listed may not be current and vary by season. Some CSAs may be at-capacity, so always check with the producer first for availability, pricing, and delivery.

Don’t see your favorite CSA listed? We’d love to include it! Send us a tip at [email protected].


Cedar Valley Sustainable Farm

Location: Ottawa, Illinois
Products: Meat, including chicken, pork, beef, eggs, and more
Pick-Up or Delivery: Pick-ups offered in Blue Island; Evanston; Naperville; Oak Park; Ottawa (on the farm by appointment); Chicago: Lincoln Square, Logan Square, Ravenswood, West Loop
Frequency: Monthly
Cost: Varies by type of membership.
Good for: Meat-eaters

Chicago Patchwork Farms

Location: Humboldt Park
Products: Vegetables
Pick-Up or Delivery: Pick-up twice a week in Humboldt Park, with delivery available for some subscriptions
Frequency: Weekly, for 8-24 weeks depending on type of share
Cost: $325-$2,185 for a subscription, depending on length
Good for: Humboldt Park residents

Fox at the Fork Farm

Location: Monee, Illinois
Products: Vegetables and greens
Pick-Up or Delivery: Pick-up at farmer’s market locations, with delivery available in Monee, Illinois
Frequency: Weekly, from May to October
Cost: $375-$750, depending on size of share 
Good for: People in the southern suburbs

Fresh Picks

Location: Niles, Illinois
Products: Fruit, vegetables, and flowers
Pick-Up or Delivery: Delivery or pick-up
Frequency: Weekly or twice a month, or as-needed
Cost: $17-59 per box, with options for a-la-carte grocery delivery
Good for: Flexibility for recurring orders or a-la-carte items

Frillman Farms

Location: Prairie View, Illinois
Products: Produce
Pick-Up or Delivery: Pick-up during designated times in Logan Square on Wednesdays and Prairie View on Thursdays
Frequency: Weekly
Cost: $30 minimum to create your own box
Good for: People who want to build their own produce boxes

Geneva Lakes Produce

Location: Spring Prairie, Wisconsin
Products: A variety of vegetables and some fruit
Pick-Up or Delivery: Pick-ups offered in Buffalo Grove, Logan Square, Spring Prairie, Evanston, Oak Park, and Palatine
Frequency: Weekly, from May to October
Cost: $625 for a half share for 20-week season, $990 for full share for 20-week season
Good for: Veggie enthusiasts

Growing Home

Location: Englewood
Good for: People looking to support a local non-profit workforce development program.
Note: Growing Home’s CSA is at-capacity for this summer, but you can visit their farm stands at the Growing Home Englewood Vegetable Stand, the Green City Market, and at the 61st Street Market Experimental Station throughout the week. Check their website for dates and times. At the Englewood Vegetable stand, produce is half market price and 50% off for Link/SNAP participants.

Iron Creek Organic

Location: La Porte, Indiana
Products: Fruits and vegetables
Pick-Up or Delivery: Chicago pick-ups are offered at Green City Market in Lincoln Park, Wicker Park Farmers Market, and the Logan Square Farmers Market. Pick-ups are also offered at the farm in La Porte, Indiana. See their website for days and times.
Frequency: Weekly, June through October. A four-week spring share is also available.
Cost: Summer shares range from $390 to $875 depending on the size of the share.
Good for: Frequenters of farmers’ markets

Just Roots Chicago

Location: Chicago
Products: Fruits, vegetables, herbs, and edible flowers
Pick-Up or Delivery: Pick-up available in Chicago and Sauk Village
Frequency: Weekly or twice a month, May to November
Cost: Not listed on website, but monthly payment plans are offered
Good for: People who want to pay with EBT
Note: Chicago shares are sold out for 2022, but Sauk Village shares are still available.

Mint Creek Farm

Location: Cabery, Illinois
Products: Grass-fed meats
Pick-Up or Delivery: Pick-up, with delivery available in Chicago, Evanston, and Oak Park
Frequency: Weekly or Monthly
Cost: Varies by type of share. A weekly delivery starts at $66 every 4 weeks.
Good for: People looking for meat delivery available year-round.

River Valley Market

Location: Various family farms in Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin
Products: Greens, mushrooms, and produce, with options to add eggs and bread
Pick-Up or Delivery: Pick-up and delivery available
Frequency: One-time, weekly, twice a month, or monthly
Cost: $38-50
Good for: Mushroom-lovers

Rustic Road Farm

Location: Elburn, Illinois
Products: Produce and eggs
Pick-Up or Delivery: Pick-up at farmer’s markets
Frequency: Weekly, for 20 weeks a year
Cost: $375-$675, depending on size of share
Good for: An individual looking for a farm share

Second City Greens

Location: Lockport, Illinois
Products: Leafy greens, lettuces, and herbs
Pick-Up or Delivery: Pick-up and delivery available
Frequency: Weekly
Cost: $156-$260 for 13 deliveries, cost varies by size of box
Good for: People in search of unique greens

Star Farm Chicago

Location: Back of the Yards
Products: Eggs, bread, meats, and produce
Pick-Up or Delivery: Delivery, with one-time order pick-up available in Oak Park
Frequency: One-time, weekly, twice a month
Cost: Varies by membership, with weekly deliveries starting at $200 per month
Good for: People who want to try out a CSA for the first time with no commitment – or people who really want to commit by paying once and getting a 1-year subscription

The Talking Farm

Location: Skokie
Products: Produce
Pick-Up or Delivery: Pick-up at the Howard Street Farm
Frequency: Weekly
Cost: $65-$350
Good for: People who want a “pick your own basket” option.

Timberfeast

Location: Livingston, Illinois
Products: Grass-fed meats and eggs
Pick-Up or Delivery: Delivery, with pick-up available in Oak Park
Frequency: As-needed
Cost: Varies by product.
Good for: People who don’t want to commit to a CSA but still want meat delivery from a local farm.

Tomato Mountain

Location: Brooklyn, Wisconsin
Products: Vegetables, with add-on options like coffee, eggs, cheese, baked goods, butter, and more
Pick-Up or Delivery: Delivery on Wednesdays-Saturdays, depending on the delivery zone
Frequency: Weekly
Cost: $16-54, not including delivery fees
Good for: People who want to customize their boxes and pay as they go

The Urban Canopy

Location: Chicago
Products: Bread, eggs, mushrooms, beverages, fruits, vegetables, and herbs
Pick-Up or Delivery: Delivery on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays
Frequency: Weekly or twice a month, from May to October; or from November to February
Cost:  Summer half shares cost $550, and full shares $990, with options to pay in installments.
Good for: People who also want a CSA option for the winter months.

Urban Growers Collective

Location: Multiple farms on the South Side of Chicago
Products: Leafy greens, vegetables, and seasonal fruit
Pick-Up or Delivery: Pick-up
Frequency: Weekly, June through November
Cost: $150-$700, depending on duration of delivery and size of share
Good for: People who want to have a subscription that includes a donation to purchase a half share for someone in need