Community Supported Agricuture (C.S.A.) is a group of individuals that pre-purchases part of a farm’s harvest. In this way your community can get fresh produce and defray part of the farm’s yearly costs. A C.S.A. can be as big a group as around two hundred, or as small as twenty people. The C.S.A. that I belong to works with the Sixth Street Community Center in the East Village of New York City and is of a larger size.
Many C.S.A.’s have shares available throughout the year. The best produce comes in June until November, or the summer share. The harvest will change every week. Sometimes there are items I have never seen in the super market, such as flowering kale, perilla, and snakelike cucumbers. The taste of the food is unreal. as many items were picked several hours before they arrive. C.S.A.s may ask the members to volunteer to help out. Help can be in the form of sorting the fruit and vegetables for the pick up, writing articles for the newsletter, web work, or organizing.
Here is a list of benefits:
- Extreme Freshness- Studies show that the sooner your fruits and vegetables are picked the more nutrients they contain. Fresher food tastes different too. Common foods like apples and tomatoes taste more spicy.
- All Organic- Take the trouble to sign up for a C.S.A. that is certified organic. It takes time, money and energy to have a certified organic farm. Organic Farms are supportive to bees, healthy soil and water.
- Less Waste-Next time you visit your super market make a note of how much paper and plastic waste you produce just from stocking your fridge. Since you bring your own bags to pick up your C.S.A. you are avoiding all of that.
- Supports your community- In my C.S.A. on 6th Street my husband and I pay slightly more so that a less privileged person has the chance to get a lower rate and support their family.
- Cost Effective- My C.S.A. works out to a weekly cost of $40 for our veggie share and another $10 for our fruit share. If I were not a member of the C.S.A. I would easily spend twice that.
- So much food- We have so much food I usually give a bag of produce to a friend. Having access to all of this food has forced me to learn how to preserve and dry my food. We eat out less because we have to get through all of that produce.
- Meeting new friends in the community- If you care enough to buy organic for yourself and your family it is nice to meet others that share your point of view.
- Absolute yumminess!!