In early 2011 I made a commitment about which I could not be happier. I blogged about it at the time (http://www NULL.beyondattitude NULL.com/2011/04/23/another-kind-of-commitment/), and even considered it to be a new type of commitment, one not typically part of Community-Based Social Marketing. Unlike the vocal, written and public commitments we usually seek, this one was a financial commitment. I committed to buying a years supply of vegetables from a local farm, through a program called Community-Supported Agriculture (http://en NULL.wikipedia NULL.org/wiki/Community-supported_agriculture).
It works like this. I pay our farm (yes, we call it OUR farm) quarterly for shares, in advance. Not shares in the equity of the farm, but shares in the harvest. And every Wednesday, at a local meeting spot near my home, I and about 50 others meet our farmer to pick up reusable boxes that include our weekly shares. I don’t get to choose the produce, I accept what I get, whatever it may be. On other days, other people are picking their shares up at other convenient locations. Our farm started out its CSA program in 2009 with 50 customers, and in 2012 it had 450.
When I started in the program last year I was just getting vegetables. Now each week I get a vegetable share, a fruit share and a dozen fresh eggs collected that very morning.
Most of the food we get is organic, some is in transition to organic (meaning it is in the certification process) and others are pesticide-free if not organic. The quality is great and it all tastes so much better than the produce at the local grocery store. And there is never a shortage of tasty things to eat for the following week.
By sourcing most of my food through our farm, I am realizing the following benefits:
- I am eating a larger variety of foods and have discovered delicious vegetables I had never tried before;
- My family is eating healthier than ever;
- I know exactly where my food comes from, in fact I can drop in to the farm anytime I want;
- I am in weekly contact with the very people who produce my food;
- I am reducing greenhouse gases from transportation and use of chemicals in the production of food; and,
- I am supporting local farms, local business and local jobs.
It is soon time to subscribe for next year, and I will be enthusiastically doing so. I encourage you, if you haven’t already, to check on the availability of a CSA in your area (https://www NULL.biodynamics NULL.com/canada NULL.html). Give it a try, I think you will be glad you did.
Update: I have been asked which CSA is “our farm.” It is Taproot Farms (http://www NULL.taprootfarms NULL.ca), and I enthusiastically recommend them for people living in Nova Scotia, Canada.