Is it your first meeting? Let me introduce you to CSA.
Community Sponsored (Supported/Shared) Agriculture
In short, A community supported by small farms in which groups of people purchase shares or lots, which, in turn supply them with a determined amount of fresh produce and farm products throughout the growing season.
A family of two adults might purchase a small share in a local CSA and receive 5-12 different vegetables a week.
More elaborately, The CSA is an ever-growing movement that began in the sixties in Europe in response to concern for food and farm conditions. In the past, to start a CSA, the community would purchase a farm, hire a farmer, and take the risk together. Today, CSA farms are generally small, independently owned, hardworking farms dedicated to caring for the land and the community that supports it. The members of the community buy into what the farm yields that year taking a ‘for better or for worse’ attitude. This is notably different than a buying club because a member of a buying club generally agrees upon a set amount of food for a set price. As a member of a CSA you and the farm will agree upon a price and a share size, both on a sliding scale.
Small share: Feeds one to two adults who eat an average amount of vegetables, or who have a very small garden of their own.
Medium share: Feeds two vegetarians or two adults who are good vegetable eaters, or a family of 3-4 average eaters.
Large share: Feeds 4-5 adults who are good vegetable eaters.
Many CSA’s will also include or offer shares on other things like meat, dairy, and various farm products. Not all CSA’s offer year-round shares and not all are certified organic, but most practice organic farming.
I highly recommend purchasing produce through a CSA. It offers, fresh, local, seasonal produce that is grown by your neighbors. Your will be exposed to a wide variety vegetables than you might not normally think to purchase. The CSA will likely include a few recipes to use those lesser known vegetables. One downside is that you rarely get to pick and choose your veggies but you can usually decline to receive the veggies you certainly wont eat. These poor unwanted vegetables will likely get donated to the local food shelf.
Now is the best time of year to get involved with a local CSA. Spots in popular CSA’s around here go fast! Check out www.localharvest.org for more info and a spring board to find a CSA close to home.