Ever since I learned about the concept of “Community Supported Agriculture” (CSA), I’ve been wanting to join in the fun. However, each year I’ve come up with some excuse like, “Oh, we probably won’t be able to eat it all,” or “We’ll be gone for several weeks this summer, so it doesn’t really make sense…” So it never happened.
What is Community Supported Agriculture?
Before I continue, let me take a brief moment to describe the wonderful idea which is CSA. It’s quite simple, really. CSA farmers sell a number of shares every year to the general public. For example, a family may sign up to receive 20 boxes of produce on a weekly basis from June to October. The family pays for the share up front, which provides the farmer with cash flow and less worry about advertising during the growing and harvest season.
Families pick up the CSA box at a pickup location and get to enjoy (often) organic, locally grown, fresh food on a regular basis. It’s a win-win!
2011: My CSA Year
This year, I started down the same path as the previous years. I looked for CSAs close to Decorah, IA (where we’re in the process of moving) and found a CSA called Rock Spring Farm. I went to their website, read customer reviews, and scoped out their different options. I decided to go for the $560 “Summer Vegetable Share” where you get 17 boxes from June to September. The pickup location is at my favorite Oneota Co-op, just blocks from our new house. (Score!) So I clicked on the “Sign up online” link to start the registration process. Then I stopped. $560 is a lot of money. Especially when you’re trying to be mindful about spending and only buying what you absolutely need.
A few days later, I came back and signed up. (Yes!)
We Are What We Eat
I decided that not only is this an investment in my family’s health, but it is also an investment in local, organic farming. Put your money where your mouth is, right? Literally. What is more important than what we put in our bodies? Our bodies are all we have. Really.
It baffles me every time I hear the statistic that we Americans spend a smaller proportion of our income on food than any other group of people in the world. And much of the food we do buy isn’t really even food. It’s processed corn and soy with added sweeteners, fats, and salt.
This is not to say that I eat perfectly. Heck, I had a whole box of milk duds the other day while working on an especially stressful project at work. But I strive to honor my body and feed it that which is good. And that which is good for the planet. I.e., organic, local food.
Have you bought your 2011 CSA share? Check out Local Harvest to find one!
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