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 most of us), and the Clemson farmers who grow them together. The 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 Clemson CSAs Work
Grocery shopping is a whole lot easier for Clemson CSA subscribers. Instead of having to wade through the produce section every week 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 which is catching on around the country since 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 generally run from early May through September or October, depending on where you reside.
Benefits of CSAs in Clemson, SC
What are the benefits of joining a Clemson CSA program? Well, the produce doesn't need 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 benefit is that the produce is just about as fresh as possible, because it is chosen, sorted and delivered generally on the same day.
Often, it's cheaper than buying produce through] supermarkets in Clemson, because it eliminates the middleman and connects the consumer and the local farmer without any markup on profit. Clemson CSAs help 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.
Clemson CSA Programs Are on the Rise
Just a few short years ago, a CSA program probably didn't exist in your Clemson community. They have really 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 are 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 Clemson consumers can be certain they're eating right, and community supported agriculture programs offer a wide array of options, including;
You do not need to live right next to an agricultural area, either, often farmers will spread their produce around in several different cities to make sure 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 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 Clemson
Even if you think you cannot afford to belong to Clemson CSAs, don't despair. Many farmers are offering apprenticeships for many who can't afford to buy a membership for a season. You're employed 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!
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 an excellent feeling. So, help a farmer, feed your family better, and save money by joining Clemson CSA in your area.