As summer is quickly approaching, the growing season is in full force. If you are looking for fresh fruits and vegetables, and perhaps milk, eggs, breads, and meats too, you might want to check out a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) in your area. To learn more about CSAs and their benefits read on.
The Basics of CSAs
A CSA consists of a farmer offering a certain numbers of shares (memberships) to the public. Consumers purchase a share and in return receive a box of locally, grown produce or other good(s). With this arrangement, both parties agree to the potential risks (and benefits) associated with farming.
Advantages for You
As a consumer, there are many advantages for you to join a CSA. You are getting the freshest possible foods available. They are the healthiest for you, full of nutrients and vitamins. You know from where your food is coming and specifically how it was grown. As a CSA member, you typically get first pick of the crops too. You can talk with the farmer and tour the farm. By joining a CSA, you will be exposed to many more foods that you may not be accustomed. This will enable you to try new foods and new ways of cooking.
Advantages for the Farmer
Joining a CSA is also advantageous for farmers. Agreements are made ahead of season. This allows farmers to get the selling out of the way, and be able to focus on farming during the summer. Also, because farmers receive their money at the time an agreement is signed, they have some sort of cash flow. Farmers get to personally know their customers and share their trade. This can be very rewarding for them.
Advantages for the Environment
CSAs are not without advantages to the environment. In fact, CSAs have a strong impact. By purchasing local, transportation and pollution in the environment is reduced. Packaging is also kept to a minimum. Often, many farmers who participate in CSAs lean towards organic farming methods. They stay clear of pesticides and chemicals and treat animals more humanly. This helps the land, water system, and air.
Joining a CSA
If you are seriously considering joining a CSA, check out the internet for ones in your area. Go visit several farms, talk to the farmers, and see their growing methods. It’s best to have all the information upfront so that you can make the right choice for you and your family.
Article by Jim Shannon at Bamboo Habitat