Ohio 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's just about all of us), and the Ohio farmers who grow them together. This 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 Ohio CSAs Work
Grocery shopping is a whole lot easier for Ohio CSA subscribers. Rather than needing to wade through the produce section weekly farmers do the job 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 an idea that is increasing in popularity around the country given it cuts 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 usually run from early May through September or October, dependent on where you reside.
Benefits of CSAs in Ohio
What are the advantages of joining a Ohio CSA program? Well, the produce doesn't have to be transported to a warehouse or group of supermarkets, it's only transferred once, to the pick-up location, so subscribers are helping save on fuel costs and spare the environment from emissions. One key advantage is that the produce is just about as fresh as possible, because it's picked, sorted and shipped generally on the same day.
Often, it's cheaper than buying produce through a OH supermarket, because it does away with the middleman and joins the consumer and the local farmer without any markup on profit. Ohio CSAs help the local economy, too, since they keep your revenue right in the area, instead of sending it to other countries or other states where produce may originate.
Ohio CSA Programs Are on the Rise
Just a few short years ago, a CSA program probably didn't exist in your Ohio community. They've really gained popularity in the last few years, and for good reason. They are a great way for farmers to know they are 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.
Generally, the crops are organic, so health-conscious OH customers can be certain they are 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 many 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 managed 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 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 Ohio
Even if you think you cannot afford to belong to a Ohio CSA, don't despair. Many farmers are offering apprenticeships for people who can't 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!
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 is a very good feeling. So, help a farmer, feed your family better, and save money by joining a Ohio CSA in your area.