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 most of us), and the Schenectady 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 Schenectady CSAs Work
Grocery shopping is a whole lot easier for Schenectady CSA subscribers. Instead of 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 really is a concept that's catching on throughout the country since it keeps out the middleman, guarantees farm-fresh produce at affordable prices, and is good for the environment because it cuts down transportation costs, as well. CSA subscriptions usually run from early May through September or October, dependent on where you live.
Benefits of CSAs in Schenectady, NY
What are the benefits of joining a Schenectady 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 key benefit is the produce is just about as fresh as you can get, since it is chosen, sorted and shipped typically on the same day.
Often, it's cheaper than buying produce through] supermarkets in Schenectady, because it gets rid of the middleman and connects the consumer and the local farmer without any markup on profit. Schenectady CSAs help 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.
Schenectady CSA Programs Are on the Rise
Just a few short years ago, a CSA program probably didn't exist in your Schenectady 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 will 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.
Primarily, the crops are organic, so health-conscious Schenectady consumers can be sure they are eating right, and community supported agriculture programs offer a wide selection of options, including;
You don't need 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 handled by local food co-ops or service organizations, while farmers often coordinate 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, and they're easy to start and maintain, so there is no reason why your community should do without one.
CSA Apprenticeship in Schenectady
Even if you feel you cannot afford to belong to Schenectady CSAs, don't despair. Many farmers are offering apprenticeships for many 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 more 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 is a very good feeling. So, help a farmer, feed your family better, and save money by joining Schenectady CSA in your area.