Delaware 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, (which is just about all of us), and the Delaware 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 Delaware CSAs Work
Grocery shopping is a whole lot easier for Delaware 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's a concept that is catching on throughout the country because it cuts 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 primarily run from early May through September or October, dependent on where you reside.
Benefits of CSAs in Delaware
What are the benefits of joining a Delaware CSA program? Well, the produce doesn't have to be transported to a warehouse or group of supermarkets, it's only moved 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 you can get, because it's picked, sorted and shipped usually on the same day.
Often, it's less expensive than buying produce through a DE supermarket, because it eliminates the middleman and joins the consumer and the local farmer without any markup on profit. Delaware CSAs benefit the local economy, too, since they keep your revenue right in the area, instead of sending it to other countries or other states where produce may originate.
Delaware CSA Programs Are on the Rise
Just a few short years ago, a CSA program probably didn't exist in your Delaware community. They have definitely gained popularity in the last few years, and for good reason. They are 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.
Primarily, the crops are organic, so health-conscious DE consumers can be certain they are eating right, and community supported agriculture programs offer a wide array of options, including;
You don't have to live right next to an agricultural area, either, often farmers will spread their produce around in a number of different cities to be 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 coordinate 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, and they are easy to start and maintain, so there is no reason why your community should do without one.
CSA Apprenticeship in Delaware
Even if you feel you cannot afford to belong to a Delaware CSA, don't despair. Many farmers are providing apprenticeships for many who can not afford to purchase a membership for a season. You're working 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!
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 Delaware CSA in your area.