Find a Local CSA in Alabama

Alabama CSA - Community Supported Agriculture Guide

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 is almost all of us), and the Alabama farmers who grow them together. The program works on a subscription basis. Subscribers can get a subscription to the produce service for either a growing season or for the whole year.

How Alabama CSAs Work

Grocery shopping is a whole lot easier for Alabama CSA subscribers. Instead of needing to wade through the produce section each week 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 is a concept which is increasing in popularity around the country given it cuts out the middleman, guarantees farm-fresh produce at affordable prices, and is good for the environment because it cuts down transportation costs, as well. CSA subscriptions generally run from early May through September or October, depending on where you reside.
 

Benefits of CSAs in Alabama

What are the advantages of joining a Alabama 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 key benefit is the produce is just about as fresh as possible, because it's selected, sorted and sent typically on the same day.

Often, it's cheaper than buying produce through a AL supermarket, because it does away with the middleman and joins the consumer and the local farmer without any markup on profit. Alabama CSAs profit the local economy, too, because they keep the revenue right in the area, instead of sending it to other countries or other states where produce may originate.

Alabama CSA Programs Are on the Rise

Just a few short years ago, a CSA program probably didn't exist in your Alabama community. They've truly gained popularity 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 AL individuals know they're eating right, and community supported agriculture programs offer a wide selection 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 don't 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, 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 easy to start and maintain, so there isn't any reason why your community should do without one.

CSA Apprenticeship in Alabama

Even if you think you can't afford to belong to a Alabama CSA, don't despair. Many farmers are providing apprenticeships for those who can't afford to buy a membership for a season. You work in the fields for a pre-determined amount of time each week, and find out 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 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 is a very good feeling. So, help a farmer, feed your family better, and save money by joining a Alabama CSA in your area.