I’m so excited to share that this year, I’ll be trying out a CSA – community supported agriculture. Basically, people buy shares at the beginning of the year and commit to a specific level of support for the year, and in return the farm provides weekly boxes of produce, straight from the farm. They’re a bit of a risk for the consumer because if the farm has a bad year, there won’t be as much yield for the investment of joining. But CSA’s are important for supporting local farmers. Farming is a very unpredictable venture and a CSA allows the farm to have a base on which to plan for the year.
CSAs can be set up in all sorts of ways. Sometimes there’s just one size of share (it’s typically HUGE) and sometimes it focuses just on vegetables. Others may have fruit or flower shares, or even eggs! You might pick up your food on the farm and even have the chance to volunteer, or you might pick up the food at a neighborhood drop site on your specific day of the week. They vary widely in price, and on whether their food is organic or not. Most people find that CSA’s also invite creativity because you will probably get vegetables in your box which you haven’t bought before, and you’ll want to use them up rather than let them go bad!
Basically, CSA’s are awesome. And I’ve been wanting to try one for ages because it seems just right for a person like me:
- I love to cook, and I like to be pushed (a little) out of my comfort zone to learn new things.
- I love vegetables. Especially now that I’m eating mostly pescatarian, I’m eating a LOT of veggies.
- I believe in eating local, sustainable, and ethical food as much as possible. A CSA allows you to know the farm(s) your farms are coming from and be familiar with their values and whether or not yours align. Local food has traveled less meaning it’s fresher and has a lower impact on the environment, while investing in your own community’s economy.
So – with all these reasons to join a CSA, why haven’t I until now? CSA’s can be a little intimidating, as well as a big commitment. I first decided I wanted to join a CSA back in early 2009, during graduate school. But my problem was that it was outside my grad school budget, provided WAY more produce than I (a single, omnivorous woman living alone) could reasonably eat, and required a time commitment of months I wasn’t sure I could muster. Then, I graduated, and got a job that provided a meal plan. So then I REALLY couldn’t justify the cost of spending a bunch of additional money on food. But mostly, because I needed the time to muster up the courage to put my money where my mouth is!
That’s why, after FOUR YEARS of waiting, I am so excited to finally be trying a CSA! My next post will outline how I chose my CSA and what was involved in signing up.