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Missouri 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 Missouri farmers who grow them together. The program 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 Missouri CSAs Work

Grocery shopping is a whole lot easier for Missouri CSA subscribers. As opposed to having to wade through the produce section each week 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 is a concept that's increasing in popularity around the country since it cuts out the middleman, assures farm-fresh produce at affordable prices, and is good for the environment because it minimizes transportation costs, as well. CSA subscriptions primarily run from early May through September or October, based on where you live.
 

Benefits of CSAs in Missouri

What are the benefits of joining a Missouri 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 key benefit is the produce is just about as fresh as possible, since it is picked, sorted and sent typically on the same day.

Often, it's less expensive than buying produce through a MO supermarket, because it gets rid of the middleman and joins the consumer and the local farmer without any markup on profit. Missouri CSAs profit 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.

Missouri CSA Programs Are on the Rise

Just a few short years ago, a CSA program probably didn't exist in your Missouri community. They have truly 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're a great way for the consumer to get high-quality products without breaking the bank, too.

Usually, the crops are organic, so health-conscious MO individuals know they are eating right, and community supported agriculture programs offer a wide variety 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 make 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 managed by local food co-ops or service organizations, while farmers often coordinate 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 almost everybody involved, and they're easy to start and maintain, so there is no reason why your community should do without one.

CSA Apprenticeship in Missouri

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