Search This Blog

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Community Supported Agriculture

I wrote this article to inform people about CSA's who were interested in my group of friends. Because I believe in supporting local organic farmers, I partnered with a natural mothering store called Belly Sprout together we support our local organic farm as a pick up location for over 30 families in the area.

Something I fell upon while doing searches on local organic farms was a farming program called Community Supported Agriculture or CSA. The CSA program is anBelly Sprout's CSA Program excellent and very convenient way to eat organically** and locally. In short, a CSA is a subscription to a local farm. You prepay for a set amount of time, generally seasonally, then you receive a weekly or bi-weekly "basket" of in season fruits and veggies and whatever else they may offer. The basket sizes vary per farm. Most preset weights and sometimes you can choose your "subscription" weight. You can pick up your subscription at the farms usually and most offer convenient drop-off locations.

Here are some Pros and Cons to joining a CSA .


FRESH FRESH FRESH fruits and veggies- The produce is generally picked within a few days of pickup, unlike a lot of the produce found in stores that's been shipped and/or trucked to its location.

LOCAL- It's purchased from a local farm where you can probably visit. You know it's from a reliable and trustworthy source. Local also means that it retains its vitamins and minerals and it's grown in the climate where you live which I have read is the best way to eat for your health –think macrobiotics. And a great, no EXCELLENT bonus is that you are supporting your local farmers and lessening energy use from trucking and shipping and possibly forcing stores to buy locally as well.

It's convenient! – The produce is already picked out for you. No shopping, no comparing price or quality, etc… it's all done and pick up locations are all over depending on where you CSA delivers to.

YOU get to be creative with your cooking- You get what's in season and ripe at the moment and you might get a lot of it. That might mean you get a lot of basil one week and none another. That's when you make lots of homemade pesto and freeze it for later or dry some. Or do whatever you can with it whatever you have a ton of…chop and freeze onions and carrots and celery etc. I do that and it's saves TONS of time when cooking! Other ideas: Canning! Or cooking in bulk and freezing are great time savers for later on. This is also good to have the produce when it's not available or in season.


You do not get to pick your produce. -You get what's in season and ripe at the moment and you might get a lot of it. – See Pros above. Note that you will not get a basket full of one type of produce. You will always get a variety.

Might need to make a grocery store run- since you only get what's in season and available, you might have to go to the store to get produce for a particular recipe or meal etc. Solution: try to plan ahead and buy your produce when you are going to the store for other items. Or get even more creative and substitute!

You pay in advance- this can be a pro or a con but if the thought of spending a lump sum of money for your produce all at once isn’t sounding great try putting aside what it would cost per week or month for a season then sign up with that money and do it again while you’re receiving them.

I hope I have convinced you that this is a WONDERFUL option. If CSA still scares you or you're uncertain about it, find a like minded friend who is interested in testing the waters with you and do half or thirds. See what it's all about. You'll save $ this way you won't get too much. You'll be able to find out effectively if it works for your or not.

One last note: most farms offer more than just produce. South Coast Farms offers Grass Fed Beef and honey, even organic flowers. Others offer poultry, nuts and eggs. Find out what they offer, you can pay and have them add it to your basket sometimes (obviously not the meat- but a lot of the time delivery is cheap or free with purchase of meats).

Find Community Supported Agriculture programs near you:

** Obviously not all farms are organic. Make sure your farm is 100% certified organic if that is what you ae looking for. There are other terms such as "transitioning" and "natural" etc. What sets CERTIFIED ORGANIC apart is that it's very difficult and expensive to become certified. Buying from these farms supports the effort they have made to make SURE you are not getting ANY pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and other harmful things in your food. For more info on what farms offer the link above will help you.


Custom Blog Design for Orange Juice by April Showers Blog Design