What's a CSA?
A CSA, sometimes called a Community Supported Agriculture Program, is a program with the goal to put people who use farm-grown products, (and that's almost all of us), and the Lancaster farmers who grow them together. The 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 Lancaster CSAs Work
Grocery shopping is a whole lot easier for Lancaster CSA subscribers. Rather than needing to wade through the produce section each week farmers do the job 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's a concept which is getting more popular across the country given it cuts out the middleman, guarantees farm-fresh produce at affordable 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 live.
Benefits of CSAs in Lancaster, CA
What are the advantages of joining a Lancaster CSA program? Well, the produce doesn't have to be transported 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 key advantage is that the produce is just about as fresh as you can get, because it's chosen, sorted and shipped typically on the same day.
Often, it's less costly than buying produce through] supermarkets in Lancaster, because it eliminates the middleman and joins the consumer and the local farmer without any markup on profit. Lancaster CSAs profit the local economy, too, since they keep your revenue right in the area, instead of sending it to other countries or other states where produce may originate.
Lancaster CSA Programs Are on the Rise
Just a few short years ago, a CSA program probably didn't exist in your Lancaster community. They've really gained popularity in the last few years, and for good reason. They're a great way for farmers to know they're going to have a market for their crops, but they are a great way for the consumer to get high-quality products without breaking the bank, too.
Generally, the crops are organic, so health-conscious Lancaster individuals can be sure they're eating right, and community supported agriculture programs offer a wide array of options, including;
You do not need to live right next to an agricultural area, either, often farmers will spread their produce around in a number of different 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 managed by local food co-ops or service organizations, while farmers often arrange their own CSAs, too. If you know a farmer, find out if they're offering a CSA program, and if they're not, give them a hint! These programs benefit almost everybody involved, and they're simple to start and maintain, so there is no reason why your community should do without one.
CSA Apprenticeship in Lancaster
Even if you think you can't afford to belong to Lancaster CSAs, don't despair. Many farmers are offering apprenticeships for many who can not afford to purchase a membership for a season. You're employed in the fields for a pre-determined amount of time each week, and find out 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 reached 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 an excellent feeling. So, help a farmer, feed your family better, and save money by joining Lancaster CSA in your area.