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 Colorado Springs farmers who grow them together. The program 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 Colorado Springs CSAs Work
Grocery shopping is a whole lot easier for Colorado Springs CSA subscribers. As opposed to needing to wade through the produce section weekly farmers do the job 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 really is a concept that is increasing in popularity across the country since it cuts out the middleman, guarantees farm-fresh produce at cheap prices, and is good for the environment because it minimizes transportation costs, as well. CSA subscriptions generally run from early May through September or October, depending on where you live.
Benefits of CSAs in Colorado Springs, CO
What are the benefits of joining a Colorado Springs CSA program? Well, the produce doesn't need 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 significant advantage is the produce is just about as fresh as possible, because it is picked, sorted and shipped typically on the same day.
Often, it's cheaper than buying produce through] supermarkets in Colorado Springs, because it does away with the middleman and links the consumer and the local farmer without any markup on profit. Colorado Springs CSAs profit the local economy, too, since they keep the revenue right in the area, instead of sending it to other countries or other states where produce may originate.
Colorado Springs CSA Programs Are on the Rise
Just a few short years ago, a CSA program probably didn't exist in your Colorado Springs community. They have 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're a great way for the consumer to get high-quality products having to break the bank, too.
Usually, the crops are organic, so health-conscious Colorado Springs consumers can be sure they are eating right, and community supported agriculture programs offer a wide selection of options, including;
You don't need to live right next to an agricultural area, either, often farmers will spread their produce around in several diverse cities to make 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 handled by local food co-ops or service organizations, while farmers often manage their own CSAs, too. If you know a farmer, determine whether 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 simple to start and maintain, so there is no reason why your community should do without one.
CSA Apprenticeship in Colorado Springs
Even if you think you cannot afford to belong to Colorado Springs CSAs, don't despair. Many farmers are providing apprenticeships for people who can't afford to purchase a membership for a season. You work 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!
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 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 is a very good feeling. So, help a farmer, feed your family better, and save money by joining Colorado Springs CSA in your area.