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New Mexico 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 New Mexico farmers who grow them together. The 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 New Mexico CSAs Work

Grocery shopping is a whole lot easier for New Mexico CSA subscribers. Instead of needing to wade through the produce section every week 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 a concept that's catching on across the country because it keeps out the middleman, guarantees farm-fresh produce at affordable 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 New Mexico

What are the advantages of joining a New Mexico CSA program? Well, the produce doesn't have to be transferred 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 that the produce is just about as fresh as possible, since it is selected, sorted and delivered usually on the same day.

Often, it's cheaper than buying produce through a NM supermarket, because it eliminates the middleman and joins the consumer and the local farmer without any markup on profit. New Mexico CSAs profit the local economy, too, because they keep the revenue right in the area, instead of sending it to other countries or other states where produce may originate.

New Mexico CSA Programs Are on the Rise

Just a few short years ago, a CSA program probably didn't exist in your New Mexico 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 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.

Primarily, the crops are organic, so health-conscious NM customers can be sure 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 many diverse cities to ensure 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 organize 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, plus they are easy to start and maintain, so there is no reason why your community should do without one.

CSA Apprenticeship in New Mexico

Even if you think you can't afford to belong to a New Mexico 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!

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 New Mexico CSA in your area.