Georgia 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's most of us), and the Georgia 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 Georgia CSAs Work
Grocery shopping is a whole lot easier for Georgia CSA subscribers. Rather than having to wade through the produce section weekly farmers do the work for them. Local farmers put together 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 across the country given it keeps out the middleman, ensures farm-fresh produce at affordable prices, and is good for the environment because it cuts down transportation costs, as well. CSA subscriptions usually run from early May through September or October, based on where you reside.
Benefits of CSAs in Georgia
What are the advantages of joining a Georgia CSA program? Well, the produce does not have to be moved 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 that the produce is just about as fresh as possible, because it's picked, sorted and shipped typically on the same day.
Often, it's less costly than buying produce through a GA supermarket, because it eliminates the middleman and joins the consumer and the local farmer without any markup on profit. Georgia CSAs benefit the local economy, too, because they maintain the revenue right in the area, instead of sending it to other countries or other states where produce may originate.
Georgia CSA Programs Are on the Rise
Just a few short years ago, a CSA program probably didn't exist in your Georgia community. They have really taken off 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.
Usually, the crops are organic, so health-conscious GA consumers can be certain they're eating right, and community supported agriculture programs offer a wide variety of options, including;
You do not have to live right next to an agricultural area, either, often farmers will spread their produce around in a number of different 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 coordinate 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're simple to start and maintain, so there isn't any reason why your community should do without one.
CSA Apprenticeship in Georgia
Even if you think you can not afford to belong to a Georgia CSA, don't despair. Many farmers are offering apprenticeships for those who can't afford to buy a membership for a season. You're working 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 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 a very good feeling. So, help a farmer, feed your family better, and save money by joining a Georgia CSA in your area.