What's a CSA?
A CSA, also known as a Community Supported Agriculture Program, is a program with the goal to put people who use farm-grown products, (and that's most of us), and the San Jose farmers who grow them together. This system works on a subscription basis. Subscribers can buy a subscription to the produce service for either a growing season or for the whole year.
How San Jose CSAs Work
Grocery shopping is a whole lot easier for San Jose CSA subscribers. As opposed to having to wade through the produce section weekly farmers do the work for them. Local farmers come up with 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 is an idea which is getting more popular throughout the country since it keeps out the middleman, assures farm-fresh produce at cheap prices, and is good for the environment because it minimizes transportation costs, as well. CSA subscriptions usually run from early May through September or October, depending on where you live.
Benefits of CSAs in San Jose, CA
What are the advantages of joining a San Jose CSA program? Well, the produce does not have to be transferred to a warehouse or group of supermarkets, it's only transported 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 sent typically on the same day.
Often, it's less costly than buying produce through] supermarkets in San Jose, because it gets rid of the middleman and connects the consumer and the local farmer without any markup on profit. San Jose CSAs help the local economy, too, simply because they maintain the revenue right in the area, instead of sending it to other countries or other states where produce may originate.
San Jose CSA Programs Are on the Rise
Just a few short years ago, a CSA program probably didn't exist in your San Jose community. They've really taken off in the last few years, and for good reason. They are 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 having to break the bank, too.
Primarily, the crops are organic, so health-conscious San Jose individuals know they are eating right, and community supported agriculture programs offer a wide array of options, including;
You do not have to live right next to an agricultural area, either, often farmers will spread their produce around in a number of different cities to be sure all their crops are spoken for.
If you don't have a CSA program in your community, talk to a local community service organization about starting one. Some are maintained 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 just about everybody involved, plus they are easy to start and maintain, so there is no reason why your community should do without one.
CSA Apprenticeship in San Jose
Even if you feel you cannot afford to belong to San Jose CSAs, don't despair. Many farmers are offering apprenticeships for many who can not afford to purchase a membership for a season. You're working 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!
At 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 San Jose CSA in your area.