Find a Local CSA in Oregon

Oregon 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's just about all of us), and the Oregon 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 Oregon CSAs Work

Grocery shopping is a whole lot easier for Oregon CSA subscribers. As opposed to 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's a concept which is increasing in popularity throughout the country given it keeps out the middleman, ensures farm-fresh produce at affordable prices, and is good for the environment because it cuts down transportation costs, as well. CSA subscriptions generally run from early May through September or October, based on where you live.
 

Benefits of CSAs in Oregon

What are the advantages of joining a Oregon CSA program? Well, the produce doesn't 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 significant advantage is that the produce is just about as fresh as possible, because it is picked, sorted and shipped generally on the same day.

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

Oregon CSA Programs Are on the Rise

Just a few short years ago, a CSA program probably didn't exist in your Oregon community. They've truly 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.

Usually, the crops are organic, so health-conscious OR customers know they're eating right, and community supported agriculture programs offer a wide selection of options, including;

  • Veggies
  • Fruits
  • Flowers
  • Meats
  • Cheeses

You don't have to live right next to an agricultural area, either, often farmers will spread their produce around in several different cities to be 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 managed by local food co-ops or service organizations, while farmers often organize their own CSAs, too. If you know a farmer, determine whether 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 Oregon

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