Every month here at Wildwood & Sage I feature a different cause, or organization that makes the world a better place. My goal is to highlight the various ways you, dear readers & Wildthings, can get involved and make the world a kinder, greener, and more fair place for all it’s inhabitants. View previous causes of the month and other activism opportunities here.
Where does your food come from? No, not the store. Where does it really come from? What’s the farm like where it’s grown? How are the animals treated? The workers? You may not know the answers to those questions now, but there’s one easy way you could find out. Change roles, what if you were a farmer. What if you never knew how many people would buy your produce? How would you know how much to plant? What will you do in the non-growing season? How will you make ends meet if you can’t sell your produce in January because it’s long gone. Wouldn’t a steadier stream of income be nice? There’s a solution to those problems as well. Strangely enough it’s also the solution to the question of where you food comes from; community supported agriculture (CSA).
Community Supported Agriculture works like this, the farmer sells shares of their produce, and consumers essentially sign up for a subscription box of farm fresh veggies (and sometimes other goodies like homemade breads, cheeses, and preserves). Farmers get an earlier payment. Consumers get access to fresh produce strait from a local farm. Plus it helps develop a relationship between farmer and consumer. Not all CSA works the same way. Some will offer different options, like certain produce, or the ability to include homemade breads or jams or eggs. Others give you an assortment of seasonal produce throughout the season, and your choices are limited to what’s currently being grown.
CSAs are a great way to support the small, local farmers in your area, while also ensuring your family gets delicious and healthy produce. No more wondering how that produce was produced, or where it really came from. You know, in fact you probably also have visited that farm! You know you are supporting a local farm family, not huge agribusiness middle men. Your money stays in your local economy, and your produce is fresher and isn’t shipped from half way around the world.
Growing up in rural Vermont, I knew where my produce was coming from. A lot of it was from our own garden, but the rest was from the local farm families. These weren’t just some nebulous company. I went to school with these kids. I knew them. It made getting that fresh corn so much better than the stuff we got at the store. Not only did it taste better, but we knew we were supporting our friends and community members, and that is an awesome feeling.
How to Join a CSA
Joining a community supported agriculture program is thankfully very easy! One of the best ways you can do it is through word of mouth. Got any local friends in a CSA? Ask them about it. But what if you don’t or you just moved and know no one? You can easily find them online with some helpful tools.
- Local Harvest CSA Finder & Info (US)
- Just Food: CSA in NYC (NYC only)
- Find a CSA (UK)
- USDA Local Food Directory (US)