CSA Day is here, it’s always the last Friday in February. Today is a day for celebrating your local food movement, community supported agriculture and a day for finding a CSA to join. For many of us, our world is cold, covered in a white blanket of snow and the furthest thing from our mind is fresh summer vegetable bounty.
We celebrate community supported agriculture in February because this is a critical time of year for our local farmers and the future harvest. These early season CSA memberships provide the farmer a guaranteed customer base and the essential cash flow required for the upfront investments like seeds and farm infrastructure.
HOLD UP, WHAT IS A CSA?
CSA stands for community supported agriculture. It’s a locally based, direct to consumer model of agriculture and food distribution. Purveyors and consumers share in the risks and rewards of food production. CSA members purchase a share of the upcoming harvest at the onset of the growing season. Once the harvest begins they receive weekly deliveries or pickups of locally grown, freshly harvested produce. CSA’s generally focus on the production of high quality foods for a local community using organic or biodynamic farming methods. In addition to produce, some CSA’s include or have the option for add-ons like eggs, dairy, fruit, flowers, ferments and meat.
WHY SHOULD I JOIN A CSA?
- Support your local food economy- Spending your food dollars locally ensures that you’re getting the freshest ingredients possible. That same money in turn directly supports the local land it came from, the sustainable, organic and biodynamic farming methods used to grow it and livelihoods of countless purveyors.
- Cook more- Canvas bags and countertops, spilling over with weekly farm fresh produce is the perfect incentive to take control of what goes on your plate and creates a more healthful lifestyle. After all, a healthier diet of fresher and unprocessed food starts in the kitchen.
- Know your farmer, know your food- There is a growing concern with the lack of nutrients and quality in our food, a huge disconnect with where our food comes from and the impact food choices have on our health, communities and the environment. Joining a CSA allows you to jump right into the cycle of crops, talk directly to the farmer and experience first hand the relationship with your table.
- Reduce food miles- It matters what you buy and where you buy it. The most commonly used statistic is that on average, food travels 1,500 miles from farm to plate. It’s a bit over simplified but paints a dramatic picture of the importance of local food and farms. Not to mention that the entire time food is being shipped it’s loosing nutrients and flavor.
- Community- This is a big one, connecting with your local food community is what this whole thing is about. Get to know your farmer, go on a farm tour, do a workshare, understand the seasonality of food, learn from other like minded people, discover new vegetables, share recipes, learn recipes, make new friends at pick up, get your kids involved, have a backyard farm dinner, buy less at the grocery store, learn food storage techniques, capture summer in a jar, stockpile freezer meals, reduce your footprint, excel in dark leafy green intake, and smile more. Shall I go on?
WHERE CAN I FIND A LOCAL CSA NEAR ME?
Some great recourses to learn more about CSA Day and find a local farm, CSA, or farmers market near you.
Alright, the table is set, have an amazing CSA Day and go make a difference in your local food community.0