This weekend is the first week we get to pick up our CSA (community supported agriculture) share. We’ve never participated in a CSA before but I’m super excited about it. If you’ve never heard of it before, a CSA is where you pay the farmer at the beginning of the season and each week you get a share of fruits and veggies (and some do meat, dairy, and eggs) throughout the summer.
Aside from the fantastic benefit of getting local, seasonal produce, there are a lot of other great reasons to participate in a CSA. It supports agriculture in your area, which means your food isn’t shipped as far to get to you, and less gasoline is used. Using less gasoline has more benefits than what I can say here, including fewer carbon dioxide emissions produced. Also, when your food has to be shipped from far away, part of what you are paying for it goes to pay for the gas to ship it. I’d prefer that more of my money go to the farmer. Supporting agriculture in your area helps keep those farms around, instead of letting the land be turned into strip malls. Having farms around is good from a security perspective because it keeps us from being dependent on food from South America and on the incredibly long infrastructure channels that get it here. Not that I have anything against South America – I visited and I loved it. But the US importing food from far away also causes problems in many countries, including contributing to destruction of rain forests and preventing people in those countries from having access to healthy, local foods.
Regardless of the state of our country’s food system, I’m really looking forward to the start of our CSA. I can’t wait to see what we will get in our box each week, and I’m happy to have the opportunity to get to know the farmers who will be growing the food that ends up on our plates. And seasonal, local veggies just taste better!