Farms all over the world are producing beautiful, delicious and nutritious vegetables and fruits all summer long. One of our favorite ways to support farmers all year long is to join a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). A CSA is a way for you to support your local farmers and to buy local, seasonal produce directly from a farmer in your community.
By joining a CSA, you “buy” a share into the farm. The farmers use that money invested in advance to support that year’s crop and in exchange, each week during the growing season, you will receive a box of local, fresh, and seasonal produce directly from the farm.
We are inspired by farmers every day! We discovered this wonderful article on CSA’s and wanted to share it with you. Please enjoy these insights on why CSA’s are good for our communities, economies, families plus good for the environment!
Community & Economy. CSAs help the local farmers in several ways. Since CSA subscriptions are generally marketed in January/February, the farmers get to spend their time in the fields during the growing season, instead of trying to generate business or sitting at a farmers market. The payment early in the season also helps them fund the crops that year – from seeds to improvements to the soil to new equipment.
Local farmers are small business owners. Spending money with a local business instead of at a big box retailer or chain keeps more of those dollars in your own community. Supporting local businesses does really matter. It is a way of living mindfully, supporting sustainable businesses, voting with your dollars, being an active participant in your own life. CSAs are also a great way to foster local community. On your pickup days, you get to interact with the farmer that grew the food you’ll be eating that night. Learning more about their business, building these relationships, and finding out more about where food comes from: these are all good things.
Family. CSAs are an amazing opportunity to get kids involved in their “food chain” – they get to meet the farmers, ask questions, learn about new vegetables and fruits, touch, see, and smell, learn colors and tastes, and more. The more they are invested in their food, getting to pick it up, help in the kitchen, meet the farmers, the more likely they will be to actually eat the stuff. Farms usually sponsor a couple “open house” events throughout the year for their CSA subscribers, which is a great chance to get to visit the farm, meet more of the workers, and see what else is growing. It’s a fun and educational family outing too. The kids love running around the fields, seeing the farm animals, and spending time in the sun.
Seasonal & Environmental. If you’ve ever eaten a strawberry picked at the peak of its season, still warm from the early summer sun, then you know the wonderful, intoxicating deliciousness of seasonal produce. Contrast that: if you’ve ever been tempted to buy a strawberry from the grocery store in December, you remember what a bland, flavorless disappointment it was. There really is a difference when you eat produce in season.
What does eating seasonally mean? It means you buy foods that are being grown and harvested locally, right now. It does not mean buying “fresh” green beans in January when you live in New Jersey (those were shipped in from Mexico, probably) or eating “fresh” asparagus in August (asparagus is a very early Spring vegetable).
By buying seasonally, you guarantee that the food is local. You’re not harming the environment by shipping the food thousands of miles (with all the carbon footprint that entails). You also are guaranteeing that you get the freshest, most nutritious and tasty food available.
Enjoy use this awesome resource for finding a CSA in your community!