August 5th, 2010

Connecting with Food-Home Gardening and Joining a CSA

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It’s true-the best organic food is the food that is grown closest to you

Photo used under Creative Commons from Krossbow

I am finally reading a book that I have wanted to read for years-The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan.  As I read it I am continually reminded that we, as a culture, have lost sight of where our food comes from. We live in a country where the supermarkets neatly package our food and the foods we buy are ready for immediate consumption.  Most food travels far to reach us- from another state or another country. At the market there is no visible connection to the earth that grew our potatoes or the tree that gave us our apple.  The grocery store knows no seasons-you can buy tomatoes in May although they were grown in August and watermelon throughout the year. There are many times that I am grateful for the year round availability of produce, but the need to reconnect with the land and participate directly in food production still lingers.  So what’s a gal to do?

My Own Attempt at Gardening

For years I have been trying to carve out a small patch of earth to grow a garden. My hope is to provide my children with some sense of where their food comes from.  I tried several spots in our yard but none were hit with enough sunlight for anything but weeds to grow.  I finally settled on an unsightly spot in our front yard that allows for a few small tomato and bean plants to grow.  This year I decided to support a local company, Growing for Good, to help me set up my garden.  The owner, Meighan Matthews,  did a fabulous job planting tomatoes, beans and cilantro in our small garden patch.  My kids are having a wonderful time watching for ripe tomatoes or beans and collecting them for dinner.   We are enjoying the fresh vegetables so much,  so we decided to join a CSA.

What is a CSA?

Community-Supported or Community-Shared Agriculture (CSA) is also known as “subscription farming.” You buy a subscription from a local farmer and you receive a “share” of fresh, locally grown or raised fruit and/or vegetables. Some farmers also offer CSA subscriptions for farm-fresh eggs, and/or meats.  If the farm is close by you can pick up your share at the farm. Most often the CSA sets up convenient pick-up locations in and around the area you live. Our CSA is not close – we are very fortunate to have a neighbor who organized a pick-up location at her house.

CSA’s are a win- win for both the farmer and the consumer. The arrangement cuts out the costly middle-man, leaving the consumer and farmer to deal directly with one another.  The farmer receives payment early in the season which helps with the farmer’s cash flow. The farmer knows who is eating his/her food and the consumer knows where it is coming from. Joining a CSA allows people to reconnect with their food while eating seasonal, fresh, organic food that comes from a local farm.   When unknown fruits and vegetables show up in our share we use it as an excuse to try new foods and new ways of cooking. The share is huge-providing food for several meals during the week. I still head to the grocery store to supplement, but I don’t buy as much as I normally would.

Our CSA, Heavens Harvest, is wonderful.   They have established a reciprocal buying relationship with a number of other farms which enables them to provide a farm share option year round.  In addition to a vegetable and fruit share they also offer fresh eggs and cut flower shares.

How to find a local CSA

If you would like to find a local CSA in your neck of the woods take a look at LocalHarvest
You can also visit your local farmers market for fresh, locally grown produce.

Where do your fruits and vegetables come from?  Tell me all about it……

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13 Responses to “Connecting with Food-Home Gardening and Joining a CSA”

  1. Hi Lori,

    Thanks for sharing the CSA options. It’s really useful to know about this. Gardening is not a piece of cake! I’ve started gardening with some limited success. My goal is to produce 75% our vegetables within the next year. In the meantime, I’m luck to have a nearby farmer’s market but we also have CSA’s in the area.

    Thanks for this helpful information.

  2. Hi Sandra-you will have to keep me posted on your gardening…..75% is impressive. What veggies are you growing?

  3. […] you can do: Join a CSA or shop at your local farmers market for organic products. Show our retailers that there is a […]

  4. […] Join a CSA.  Community-Supported or Community-Shared Agriculture (CSA) is also known as “subscription farming.” You buy a subscription from a local farmer and you receive a “share” of fresh, locally grown or raised fruit and/or vegetables. Some farmers also offer CSA subscriptions for farm-fresh eggs, and/or meats.  If the farm is close by you can pick up your share at the farm. Most often the CSA sets up convenient pick-up locations in and around the area you live. Our CSA is not close – we are very fortunate to have a neighbor who organized a pick-up location at her house. Each week we receive a box filled with delicious, fresh, local produce.  If you would like to find a local CSA in your neck of the woods take a look at LocalHarvest. […]

  5. […] berries are wild and free. There are many other options for stockpiling these plump, sweet berries. Joining a CSA and visiting your local farmer’s market are both great alternatives for buying local berries. […]

  6. […] have been part of a CSA for many years and recently opted in to receive half a dozen organic fresh eggs each week directly […]

  7. […] a family favorite with other types of fish being hit or miss. About a year ago I was part of a fish CSA. I loved the concept of buying fresh fish from local fishermen, but what I learned quickly was that […]

  8. […] years ago we joined a CSA (consumer supported agriculture). Every week our box is filled with interesting fruits and […]

  9. […] want my kids to understand the difference. Ways to connect with food CSA Many years ago we joined a CSA (consumer supported agriculture). Every week our box is filled with interesting fruits and […]

  10. […] Buy a share directly from a farm (CSA) that is USDA Certified Organic. Ask if they sell produce that is non-GMO.  To find a local CSA look here. […]

  11. […] you can do: Join a CSA or shop at your local farmers market for organic products. Show our retailers that there is a […]

  12. […] my father I try very hard to instill that same connection with my own children, whether it’s through a CSA, farmer’s market or gardening. I’m not always successful, but good intentions are […]

  13. […] only do we try our best to eat together, but we also belong to a CSA and we cook together. Cooking together is a fantastic way to spend some quality time in the […]

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About Lori

I’m Lori Popkewitz Alper, a recovering attorney, mom of three and the Founder of Groovy Green Livin. I hope you'll join me as I embark on a journey to live a healthy life. Along the way I might make a few pit stops to fight for issues that affect the health and safety of our families. Come along with me as I work hard to make the world a little safer for each of us. Together we'll discover that simple, small changes can lead to a healthier lifestyle and a greener planet.

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