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Utah CSA - Community Supported Agriculture Guide

What's a CSA?

A CSA, also referred to 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 Utah 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 Utah CSAs Work

Grocery shopping is a whole lot easier for Utah CSA subscribers. Instead of having to wade through the produce section each 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 which is increasing in popularity throughout the country because it cuts out the middleman, assures farm-fresh produce at cheap prices, and is good for the environment because it cuts down transportation costs, as well. CSA subscriptions primarily run from early May through September or October, depending on where you live.
 

Benefits of CSAs in Utah

What are the advantages of joining a Utah CSA program? Well, the produce doesn't need to be moved 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 you can get, since it is chosen, sorted and shipped generally on the same day.

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

Utah CSA Programs Are on the Rise

Just a few short years ago, a CSA program probably didn't exist in your Utah community. They've really taken off 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 having to break the bank, too.

Usually, the crops are organic, so health-conscious UT customers can be certain they're eating right, and community supported agriculture programs offer a wide array 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 distinct 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 arrange 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 everybody involved, plus they are simple to start and maintain, so there's no reason why your community should do without one.

CSA Apprenticeship in Utah

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