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Indiana 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 most of us), and the Indiana farmers who grow them together. This program 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 Indiana CSAs Work

Grocery shopping is a whole lot easier for Indiana CSA subscribers. Instead of 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 is an idea that's increasing in popularity throughout the country since it cuts out the middleman, assures 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, depending on where you live.
 

Benefits of CSAs in Indiana

What are the advantages of joining a Indiana CSA program? Well, the produce doesn't 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 the produce is just about as fresh as possible, since it is selected, sorted and sent typically on the same day.

Often, it's less costly than buying produce through a IN supermarket, because it does away with the middleman and joins the consumer and the local farmer without any markup on profit. Indiana CSAs help the local economy, too, because they keep your revenue right in the area, instead of sending it to other countries or other states where produce may originate.

Indiana CSA Programs Are on the Rise

Just a few short years ago, a CSA program probably didn't exist in your Indiana community. They've 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 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 IN customers can be certain they're eating right, and community supported agriculture programs offer a wide selection of options, including;

  • Veggies
  • Fruits
  • Flowers
  • Meats
  • Cheeses

You do not have to live right next to an agricultural area, either, often farmers will spread their produce around in several different cities to ensure 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 just about everyone 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 Indiana

Even if you think you can not afford to belong to a Indiana CSA, don't despair. Many farmers are providing apprenticeships for people who can not afford to buy a membership for a season. You work 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 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 a very good feeling. So, help a farmer, feed your family better, and save money by joining a Indiana CSA in your area.