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 almost all of us), and the Bedford farmers who grow them together. This 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 Bedford CSAs Work
Grocery shopping is a whole lot easier for Bedford CSA subscribers. Rather than having to wade through the produce section weekly farmers do the work for them. Local farmers come up with 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 an idea which is increasing in popularity throughout the country given it cuts 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 usually run from early May through September or October, depending on where you live.
Benefits of CSAs in Bedford, VA
What are the advantages of joining a Bedford CSA program? Well, the produce doesn't need 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 advantage is the produce is just about as fresh as you can get, because it's selected, sorted and delivered generally on the same day.
Often, it's less expensive than buying produce through] supermarkets in Bedford, because it does away with the middleman and links the consumer and the local farmer without any markup on profit. Bedford CSAs profit 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.
Bedford CSA Programs Are on the Rise
Just a few short years ago, a CSA program probably didn't exist in your Bedford community. They've definitely gained popularity in the last few years, and for good reason. They're a great way for farmers to know they're 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 Bedford consumers can be certain they are 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 a number of 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 are simple to start and maintain, so there isn't any reason why your community should do without one.
CSA Apprenticeship in Bedford
Even if you feel you can't afford to belong to Bedford CSAs, don't despair. Many farmers are providing apprenticeships for people who can't afford to buy a membership for a season. You work 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 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 is a very good feeling. So, help a farmer, feed your family better, and save money by joining Bedford CSA in your area.