Idaho 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 Idaho farmers who grow them together. This system 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 Idaho CSAs Work
Grocery shopping is a whole lot easier for Idaho CSA subscribers. Instead of needing to wade through the produce section each week 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 is a concept that's catching on throughout the country because it keeps out the middleman, assures farm-fresh produce at reasonable prices, and is good for the environment because it minimizes transportation costs, as well. CSA subscriptions generally run from early May through September or October, dependent on where you reside.
Benefits of CSAs in Idaho
What are the advantages of joining a Idaho CSA program? Well, the produce does not have 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 benefit is the produce is just about as fresh as you can get, since it is selected, sorted and sent generally on the same day.
Often, it's less costly than buying produce through a ID supermarket, because it eliminates the middleman and joins the consumer and the local farmer without any markup on profit. Idaho CSAs help the local economy, too, since they keep the revenue right in the area, instead of sending it to other countries or other states where produce may originate.
Idaho CSA Programs Are on the Rise
Just a few short years ago, a CSA program probably didn't exist in your Idaho community. They have definitely taken off in the last few years, and for good reason. They are a great way for farmers to know they will have a market for their crops, but they're 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 ID consumers know they're eating right, and community supported agriculture programs offer a wide array 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 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 arrange 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 easy to start and maintain, so there isn't any reason why your community should do without one.
CSA Apprenticeship in Idaho
Even if you think you can not afford to belong to a Idaho CSA, don't despair. Many farmers are offering apprenticeships for many who can not afford to purchase a membership for a season. You work in the fields for a pre-determined amount 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!
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 Idaho CSA in your area.