Community Supported Agriculture: Affordable Local & Organic Produce
Inspired to start eating more local and organic produce but don’t know where to start? Joining a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) might be exactly what you’re looking for!
Over the last decade CSA has become a very popular way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food straight from the farm. How does it work? At the beginning of the growing season (late winter, early spring) the farmer will offer a certain number of “shares” to the public for purchase. In exchange you will receive a weekly box of fresh, organic produce for the duration of the season. CSA helps support local farmers by providing them with funds when input costs are high and by guaranteeing a market for the farm’s produce. Consumers benefit by receiving fresh, nutrient dense food and by becoming more connected to the land on which their food is grown. It’s a cost effective way to buy organic produce and it takes the guesswork out of eating local!
Local Harvest lists the following rewards for both the consumer and the farmer:
Advantages for farmers:
- Get to spend time marketing the food early in the year, before their 16 hour days in the field begin
- Receive payment early in the season, which helps with the farm’s cash flow
- Have an opportunity to get to know the people who eat the food they grow
Advantages for consumers:
- Eat ultra-fresh food, with all the flavor and vitamin benefits
- Get exposed to new vegetables and new ways of cooking
- Usually get to visit the farm at least once a season
- Find that kids typically favor food from “their” farm – even veggies they’ve never been known to eat
- Develop a relationship with the farmer who grows their food and learn more about how food is grown
CSA is based on a system of “shared risk and reward.” You’ll receive shares (produce) in the farm’s bounty and you also share the risks due to weather and other factors beyond the control of the farmer.
This is our first year participating in a CSA and I’m thoroughly enjoying our weekly bin of veggies from Nathan Creek Organic Farm! I’d recommend researching farms now to start planning for next season! Visit Farm Folk, City Folk for a list of local farms participating in Community Supported Agriculture.
Want to know what we’re doing with all our local produce? Visit the Vancouver Nutritionist blog for recipes and inspiration!