Find a Local CSA in Arkansas

Arkansas 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 Arkansas 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 Arkansas CSAs Work

Grocery shopping is a whole lot easier for Arkansas CSA subscribers. Rather than having to wade through the produce section each week 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 a concept that's getting more popular throughout the country given it keeps out the middleman, ensures farm-fresh produce at cheap 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 reside.
 

Benefits of CSAs in Arkansas

What are the benefits of joining a Arkansas CSA program? Well, the produce doesn't need to be moved 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 possible, because it is picked, sorted and shipped generally on the same day.

Often, it's less costly than buying produce through a AR supermarket, because it gets rid of the middleman and links the consumer and the local farmer without any markup on profit. Arkansas CSAs help the local economy, too, simply because they keep the revenue right in the area, instead of sending it to other countries or other states where produce may originate.

Arkansas CSA Programs Are on the Rise

Just a few short years ago, a CSA program probably didn't exist in your Arkansas community. They have definitely 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 having to break the bank, too.

Generally, the crops are organic, so health-conscious AR consumers know they're eating right, and community supported agriculture programs offer a wide array of options, including;

  • Veggies
  • Fruits
  • Flowers
  • Meats
  • Cheeses

You don't need to live right next to an agricultural area, either, often farmers will spread their produce around in many distinct 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, 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 are easy to start and maintain, so there isn't any reason why your community should do without one.

CSA Apprenticeship in Arkansas

Even if you think you can't afford to belong to a Arkansas CSA, don't despair. Many farmers are providing apprenticeships for many who can not afford to buy a membership for a season. You're working 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 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 an excellent feeling. So, help a farmer, feed your family better, and save money by joining a Arkansas CSA in your area.