As hard as it is for me to imagine, not everyone is into gardening. I know, a shocker. Well for those who want the freshness and localness of a garden, without all the time and effort, there I an alternative. It’s called Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA for short.
A CSA is a local farm that sells a subscription-like service to its produce. Usually called shares, these subscriptions are either monthly or annual purchases that entitle each owner to a weekly portion of the produce form the farm. Each week a CSA member receives a delivery, or picks up a container holding an assortment of in-season vegetables, freshly picked from the local farm. In return, the farmer gets a steady dependable income from local customers. This exchange keeps money flowing through the local economy and reduces food miles at the same time.
CSA shares can vary in cost depending on the amount of food you get, and the frequency of payments. So, what are some of the advantages to joining a CSA?
- You get great fresh, local, in-season food
- You pay someone else to do the dirty work
- You could still keep a small garden while expanding the variety or quantity of your local food.
- You support local farmers helping assure long-term food security for your area
Being a member might also expose you to new varieties of vegetables, and inspire you to try new dishes you might not otherwise have discovered.
You will likely pay more in a CSA then you would for vegetables in the grocery store, but you are getting a much higher quality product. Most CSA’s grow organically, whether certified as such or not. The food will also be fresher and more nutrient dense, as it’s picked when best to consume, not best to ship.
If you want to give CSA’s a try you can learn more and find a CSA near you at https://www.localharvest.org. Who knows, maybe a CSA will strike the right balance between local and simple for you?