Ever wonder what a CSA is? Allow our gardening and farming superhero Daniel Hoffman of The Cutting Veg to explain.
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a mutually beneficial partnership where peeps receive fresh, local, organically grown produce weekly, while supporting local farmers and sustainable growing practices. The CSA model is one that has become hugely popular among veggie-lovers, over the past several years.
So, why do people choose to join a CSA? Why would anyone want to pay $600 or so up-front (or in installments) for a seasons worth of fruit and veggies? Having run a CSA for three years now, I am always amazed by how everyone joins for a different reason.
Certainly, many folks are motivated by the health benefits that come from eating freshly harvested, local, organic produce. Intuitively, we know that because organic produce is free of harmful chemicals it must be healthier for us. One member told me that she joined because of her husband's cancer, and the desire to provide the best possible nutrition for his body. After a year of being a member, she reported significant health improvement in her husband, and gratitude for the role organic veg was playing in that process. Another CSA member simply reported: “My friends have seen the change in me --- that I feel much more alive and stronger since I started eating foods from your harvest.”
Others join a CSA for the sense of community it creates in their lives. The weekly veggie pick-up provides the opportunity to schmooze with people in the community who share similar interests and values. The relationship with the farmers provides people with a sense of connectedness to a wholesome lifestyle. Further, many CSA members choose to come out to the farm to help out, where they are able to connect with themselves, the earth, the growing process, and other folks -- furthering their sense of community and connectedness. As one member of TheCutting Veg CSA reflected, "It's that sense of being part of a team and a community that I love. It contributes to my psychological well being."
A lot of people join a CSA for their kids. Being part of a CSA, and having a relationship with a farm, supports children and youth to develop healthy relationships with food. CSA members whose children help choose their veggies at the weekly pick-up notice their kids develop a greater love and appreciation for produce and healthy eating. Further, kids thrive on the farm, and parents who bring their children to the farm to volunteer, rave about the positive impact it has on their lives.
People join for a variety of reasons. Some do it because they appreciate the exquisite flavours and superior nutrition of locally-grown, freshly-harvested, organic produce. Some do it because they want to be part of a healthy food system, and support local farmers. Others appreciate the financial savings that comes with being a CSA member. Many people join a CSA to be part of a healthy community, and to expose their children to healthy, fun, ethical choices. Regardless of one's motives, participating in a CSA allows one to enrich their quality of life, while making a difference in the world.
Joining a CSA means you and your family will enjoy the health, community, and environmental benefits of eating fresh, local, organically grown produce! Join the countless communities across North America that have already committed to putting their purchasing power behind our local farmers. Become a part of the food movement today!