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, (which is almost all of us), and the Elizabethtown farmers who grow them together. The program works on a subscription basis. Subscribers can get a subscription to the produce service for either a growing season or for the whole year.
How Elizabethtown CSAs Work
Grocery shopping is a whole lot easier for Elizabethtown CSA subscribers. Rather than having to wade through the produce section weekly 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 an idea that is getting more popular around the country because it keeps out the middleman, guarantees farm-fresh produce at cheap prices, and is good for the environment because it decreases transportation costs, as well. CSA subscriptions generally run from early May through September or October, based on where you reside.
Benefits of CSAs in Elizabethtown, NC
What are the benefits of joining a Elizabethtown CSA program? Well, the produce does not have to be transferred 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 significant advantage is that the produce is just about as fresh as you can get, because it's chosen, sorted and delivered generally on the same day.
Often, it's less expensive than buying produce through] supermarkets in Elizabethtown, because it does away with the middleman and joins the consumer and the local farmer without any markup on profit. Elizabethtown CSAs profit 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.
Elizabethtown CSA Programs Are on the Rise
Just a few short years ago, a CSA program probably didn't exist in your Elizabethtown community. They've definitely taken off in the last few years, and for good reason. They're 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.
Generally, the crops are organic, so health-conscious Elizabethtown consumers can be certain they're eating right, and community supported agriculture programs offer a wide array of options, including;
You don't 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 maintained by local food co-ops or service organizations, while farmers often arrange their own CSAs, too. If you know a farmer, determine if they're offering a CSA program, and if they're not, give them a hint! These programs benefit almost everybody involved, plus they are simple to start and maintain, so there isn't any reason why your community should do without one.
CSA Apprenticeship in Elizabethtown
Even if you feel you can not afford to belong to Elizabethtown CSAs, don't despair. Many farmers are providing apprenticeships for those who can't 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 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!
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 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 an excellent feeling. So, help a farmer, feed your family better, and save money by joining Elizabethtown CSA in your area.