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Hot Springs CSA - Community Supported Agriculture Guide



What's a CSA?

A CSA, also referred to as a Community Supported Agriculture Program, is a program with the goal to put people who use farm-grown products, (and that is almost all of us), and the Hot Springs farmers who grow them together. This program works on a subscription basis. Subscribers can purchase a subscription to the produce service for either a growing season or for the whole year.

How Hot Springs CSAs Work

Grocery shopping is a whole lot easier for Hot Springs CSA subscribers. Rather than needing to wade through the produce section every week farmers do the work for them. Local farmers put together a weekly basket of produce (sometimes meat and dairy as well) and deliver it to an established, central location, or subscribers can pick it up at the farm.

It really is a concept that's increasing in popularity throughout the country given it cuts out the middleman, guarantees farm-fresh produce at cheap prices, and is good for the environment because it decreases transportation costs, as well. CSA subscriptions usually run from early May through September or October, based on where you reside.
 

Benefits of CSAs in Hot Springs, AR

What are the advantages of joining a Hot Springs CSA program? Well, the produce doesn't need to be moved to a warehouse or group of supermarkets, it's only transferred once, to the pick-up location, so subscribers are helping save on fuel costs and spare the environment from emissions. One significant advantage is the produce is just about as fresh as you can get, because it's selected, sorted and delivered usually on the same day.

Often, it's less costly than buying produce through] supermarkets in Hot Springs, because it gets rid of the middleman and links the consumer and the local farmer without any markup on profit. Hot Springs CSAs profit the local economy, too, because they keep your revenue right in the area, instead of sending it to other countries or other states where produce may originate.

Hot Springs CSA Programs Are on the Rise

Just a few short years ago, a CSA program probably didn't exist in your Hot Springs community. They have definitely taken off in the last few years, and for good reason. They are a great way for farmers to know they are going to have a market for their crops, but they're a great way for the consumer to get high-quality products without breaking the bank, too.

Primarily, the crops are organic, so health-conscious Hot Springs consumers can be certain they're eating right, and community supported agriculture programs offer a wide array of options, including;

  • Veggies
  • Fruits
  • Flowers
  • Meats
  • Cheeses

You do not have to live right next to an agricultural area, either, often farmers will spread their produce around in several diverse cities to ensure all their crops are spoken for.

If you do not have a CSA program in your community, talk to a local community service organization about starting one. Some are handled by local food co-ops or service organizations, while farmers often arrange their own CSAs, too. If you know a farmer, determine if they're offering a CSA program, and if they're not, give them a hint! These programs benefit just about everybody involved, and they are simple to start and maintain, so there's no reason why your community should do without one.

CSA Apprenticeship in Hot Springs

Even if you think you cannot afford to belong to Hot Springs CSAs, don't despair. Many farmers are providing apprenticeships for many who can not afford to buy a membership for a season. You're working in the fields for a pre-determined period of time each week, and learn more about the business of agriculture, and you receive a share of the crops in return. Now that's a win-win situation for everyone!

During a time when we worry about the quality of our food, how far it's traveled, and how long it's been sitting in a warehouse before it finally arrived at the supermarket, these novel programs can bring a little more peace of mind about where dinner's coming from and teach you new skills at the same time.

Even if you don't want to work in an apprenticeship, you can usually visit the farm and actually see where your next meal is coming from, and that's a very good feeling. So, help a farmer, feed your family better, and save money by joining Hot Springs CSA in your area.