CSA 101: What you really need to know about Community Supported Agriculture
In the words of LocalHarvest—a network of food resources and locally-producing farms across the nation—the definition of CSA:
[A] farmer offers a certain number of “shares” to the public. Typically the share consists of a box of vegetables, but other farm products may be included. Interested consumers purchase a share (aka a “membership” or a “subscription”) and in return receive a box (bag, basket) of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season. (source: link)
So I can’t get a Christmas tree in my ‘hood, but will soon be able to get fresh, local veggies. (I’m not complaining, really; I can’t remember the last time I ate my Christmas tree.)
There’s a ton of info out there on what all this CSA mumbo jumbo’s about and why you might consider joining one. One of my faves is LocalHarvest.org; they’re a great resource in general (if you care about what you put in your body day in, day out). Each farm/organization sets up their CSA deal differently, for instance, some farms allow you to put in a few hours’ work on the farm for a lower-priced share. You’re likely to find just the CSA for you, no matter where you live.
Here’s a quick run-down of the pros of CSAs:
1. Local produce is better for you (and better for the planet).
2. Eating in season is cool.
3. You might be inspired to ‘put up’ extra fruits and veg that arrive in your weekly CSA box. Eating in season goes hand-in-hand with canning and preserving.
4. You’ll make new friends (the people who allow you to watch them canning and preserving until you get the hang of it.)
5. You know exactly where your food comes from and you probably met the farmer(s) who grew/raised it.
6. You’re investing in your community and a local food chain (which strengthens the food system in general—why ship in things that are grown nearby, save those things for areas not lucky enough for certain local foods.)
Questions? Check out these handy, first timin’ tips by LocalHarvest!