Community Supported Agriculture
A Closer Look at Community Supported Agriculture
Today nearly everyone is looking for new ways to eat better. Between busy schedules, fast food restaurants, and junk food at the checkout, there are endless temptations to eat badly.
How about a temptation to eat better? My favorite is Community Supported Agriculture.
Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA for short, is an arrangement between subscribers (also called members) and a local farm. The members join for a season and make a monetary payment in exchange for a share of the harvest. Typically you receive a weekly box, delivered locally, often to another member’s garage. CSA members share in the risks and benefits of the harvest. This means that in a good year there may be additional bundles of corn while in a bad year, corn may be absent–but there may be extra cauliflower.
Your Community Supported Agriculture Dollars at Work
CSA’s typically offer good value for your food dollar and the foods are often grown without chemical pesticides. By “eating local” you help the local economy, support family farms, and reduce the impact of packaging and shipping cross country. And you get some really fresh, amazing food.
One of the surprising advantages of joining a CSA is that it is a commitment. With one burst of resolve you sign up–and are in it for the season. Since you have already paid for a weekly box of vegetables, you are more likely to eat them. And let’s be honest, if you have a bad week at work, you are going to need something more motivating that a simple commitment to eat better. Sounds challenging, but the (really fresh) produce is so beautiful, it feels like you are getting a weekly present.
Beyond the food itself, joining a CSA may offer additional benefits. Often there is a newsletter with healthy recipe suggestions and connections to other providers like grass fed beef producers. There may also be farm events like canning classes or member parties, where your kids can see a real, live chicken. I’ve had a great time and gotten delicious recipes at my CSAs annual harvest party.
Most CSAs are getting ready for the new season and signing up members now. If you are serious about eating better, this is one of the best commitments you can make. To find one near you, check out the Local Harvest website.