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Green Things Growing: What Is A CSA Anyway?

 
By Daniel Hoffmann: Meghan Telpner's Superhero Farming and Edible Gardening Expert. Click here for more info on Meghan Telpner's Superhero Posse

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!
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If you're interested in joining a CSA for the 2011 harvest season, visit http://csafarms.ca/index.html, or http://www.thecuttingveg.com .
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For more info, drop me a note at daniel@thecuttingveg.com, or 647-388-7444.

8 Responses to “Green Things Growing: What Is A CSA Anyway?”

  1. Janet said…
    I can't think of a better choice for Superhero Farmer! I had the pleasure of getting to know Daniel (and his wonderful veggies) in the early days of the CSA, and I attribute my successful backyard garden adventures to his organic gardening workshop. Great guy, great garlic and veggies, great ideas! To infinity and beyond!
  2. Deborah said…
    Thank you for this! We get ours from 'Simpler Thyme Organic Farm'. I love going there and talking with the wonderful farmers. They always teach us something about organic growing and/or plants we've never heard of. And they all look so darn healthy with their rosy cheeks :-) I can't wait to start getting our box this year. It's even more exciting than usual now that I'm making green juice daily.
  3. I love CSA and cant wait until mine starts up in may :)
  4. Erin said…
    I joined Dan's CSA last year and loved the experience. I originally joined because I knew that the produce would be healthier for us (local & organic!). After joining, I really did appreciate the sense of community, shmoozing with the CSA group each week, and learning about vegetables I wasn't familiar with. I picked up our fresh produce with my baby every week, and I'm looking forward to this year because my son will be 20 months old in May and will start to understand what's going on. As it is, he mainly eats fruits and vegetables, and I hope that he will learn to appreciate it that much more. My husband started feeling great when we started eating more organic produce, and he attributes much of his feeling great to eating organic. I love that our CSA pickup is at the Kavanah Garden (very close to our house!) - it's also a convenient bonus because my son (and me!) can see and learn about growing the produce (even though the garden is separate).
  5. Andrea said…
    Go Dan! I'm one of his biggest cheerleaders. And if this were Facebook, I'd "like" Erin's comment. :)
  6. Lesli said…
    I've been in a veggie CSA for several years now, and a meat/egg CSA for about a year (same concept; local, organic food from well-cared for, drug free animals.) My only wish is that that veggie CSA was year-round, but being from the Midwest I take what I can get. For your readers in the USA, a great place to find a CSA near you is www.localharvest.org.
  7. [...] to choose a healthy lifestyle as they grow.  Bring them along to your local farmers market or CSA.  Involve them in cooking and gardening.  Model for the kids in your life that food, and a [...]

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