Find a Local CSA in Alaska

Alaska 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's just about all of us), and the Alaska 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 Alaska CSAs Work

Grocery shopping is a whole lot easier for Alaska 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's an idea that's getting more popular throughout the country because it cuts out the middleman, assures farm-fresh produce at reasonable prices, and is good for the environment because it decreases transportation costs, as well. CSA subscriptions primarily run from early May through September or October, based on where you reside.
 

Benefits of CSAs in Alaska

What are the benefits of joining a Alaska CSA program? Well, the produce doesn't have to be transferred 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 the produce is just about as fresh as possible, since it is chosen, sorted and delivered generally on the same day.

Often, it's less expensive than buying produce through a AK supermarket, because it eliminates the middleman and connects the consumer and the local farmer without any markup on profit. Alaska CSAs help the local economy, too, simply because they keep your revenue right in the area, instead of sending it to other countries or other states where produce may originate.

Alaska CSA Programs Are on the Rise

Just a few short years ago, a CSA program probably didn't exist in your Alaska community. They've really 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'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 AK consumers know they're eating right, and community supported agriculture programs offer a wide variety 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 different cities to make sure 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 whether they're offering a CSA program, and if they're not, give them a hint! These programs benefit almost everybody involved, and they are simple to start and maintain, so there isn't any reason why your community should do without one.

CSA Apprenticeship in Alaska

Even if you think you can not afford to belong to a Alaska CSA, don't despair. Many farmers are offering apprenticeships for people who can't afford to purchase a membership for a season. You're employed in the fields for a pre-determined period 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 is an excellent feeling. So, help a farmer, feed your family better, and save money by joining a Alaska CSA in your area.