First of all you may be thinking, What even is a CSA? CSA stands for community supported agriculture. It is like a subscription to a farm’s produce. The type of CSA that I am a part of is a little bit different than most. It’s call the Farm Bag Fundraiser, and it’s run through Localmotive. They provide all organic produce from multiple local farms throughout the winter months when people cannot go out to the farms or markets or garden themselves. It is also a fundraiser for different community groups and schools throughout the area which is a huge bonus. This is my fourth year participating in the Farm Bag Fundraiser, and I love it. CSAs are better for the environment, your community, and yourself. If you haven’t already, here are five reasons why you should join a CSA where you live.CSAs are better for the environment, your community, and yourself. #farmtotable Click To Tweet
1. Support Local Farms
By purchasing your produce from a local farm, you are supporting agriculture in your community. Small scale farms are better for the land and environment, and it also cuts out the pollution of transportation. You are putting your money into the local economy and helping a farmer in your area make a living. Plus you know exactly where your food is coming from, and you can even go visit the farm to see how it’s grown for yourself.
2. Eat Organic/Spray-Free Produce
Many small scale farms have an easier time implementing organic farming practices. Even if they are not certified organic, oftentimes these farms are spray-free and using other sustainable and natural fertilizers, weed control, and pest control. This is better for the environment and also for your health as you eat foods that are not covered in the toxins of conventional agriculture.
3. Have More Variety
Because you do not choose the produce that you receive, I’m certain you will occasionally be faced with something you wouldn’t typically buy for yourself at the grocery store. I’ve had eggplant, leek, and fennel come in my farm bag at one point or another – all of which were my first time eating them. It provides an opportunity to expand your tastes and explore different food items and cooking techniques.
4. Experience Better Flavour
Conventional farming grows produce suitable for long transport, larger size, and out of season demand. This results in the flavourless, colourless produce I often see in the grocery store. Small scale farms, however, are using different varieties of seeds creating more interesting and flavourful produce. The food matches the seasons which means they’re growing in the most ideal conditions for each item. It is also picked ripe, and you get it at its freshest.
5. Save Money
Even though joining a CSA is a larger upfront cost, I have found that overall it is actually less expensive than regular shopping – especially for the same quality (and organic) produce. I pay $150 for 5 months of fruits and vegetables which equals out to $30/month. Each of my farm bags contains 7-10 different kinds of items, weighs about 20 lbs, and is valued at around $36 in store. Also, having prepaid for the 5 months provides a nice break in my monthly grocery budget that follows.
You can find a CSA in your area by searching in the database at Local Harvest. It’s worth it!
Do you buy produce locally? Have you participated in a CSA before?