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Colorado CSA - Community Supported Agriculture Guide

What's a CSA?

A CSA, sometimes called a Community Supported Agriculture Program, is a program with the goal to put people who use farm-grown products, (and that is most of us), and the Colorado farmers who grow them together. This 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 Colorado CSAs Work

Grocery shopping is a whole lot easier for Colorado 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 really is an idea that's catching on throughout the country because it cuts out the middleman, guarantees 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, dependent on where you reside.
 

Benefits of CSAs in Colorado

What are the advantages of joining a Colorado CSA program? Well, the produce does not have to be transported 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 that the produce is just about as fresh as possible, because it's chosen, sorted and delivered generally on the same day.

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

Colorado CSA Programs Are on the Rise

Just a few short years ago, a CSA program probably didn't exist in your Colorado community. They have definitely taken off in the last few years, and for good reason. They're a great way for farmers to know they are 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.

Usually, the crops are organic, so health-conscious CO consumers can be sure they are 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 different cities to be 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 organize 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, plus they are easy to start and maintain, so there isn't any reason why your community should do without one.

CSA Apprenticeship in Colorado

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