Please welcome back Jacqueline Fisch, the author of Barefoot Essence, she is a second time contributor to VBU! You can read her previous post “Change your diet, skip surgery” here. Please visit Barefoot Essence on Facebook, Twitter and her blog; welcome Jacqueline!
Every Wednesday night I am like a kid on Christmas morning. We order an organic produce box from a local farm, and Wednesday is our pick-up day. The food is healthy, fresh, in-season, and leaps-and-bounds better than what I find in grocery stores.
This produce box is part of Community Shared Agriculture (CSA). CSA is a system that helps get organic produce to the city and suburbs efficiently. Currently, approximately 1,000 farms in North America participate in CSA.
Every spring, I purchase a ‘share’ of the season’s harvest from a local organic farm. Shareholders pay for their share at the beginning of the growing season; this offers farmers the necessary start-up capital to purchase seeds and supplies. This removes their dependence on bank loans which means we pay for the actual cost of the food, not bank fees. Apparently in conventional farming, only 9 cents on the dollar goes to the farmer, while the rest goes to suppliers, processors, middlemen and marketers.
In the past few places we have lived, I have been lucky enough to find a great supplier. We currently get our share from Plan B Organic farms; they are a ‘Multi-farm CSA’ meaning they both grow and source certified organic produce from 12 farms in Southern Ontario for our shares every week.
17 Reasons I love my weekly share:
- Adventure! I eat a variety of plants that sometimes I have even heard of
- Creativity! I get to craft new recipes to use what is in my share
- Smoothies! We drink at least one green smoothie a day
- Baby food! Talia gets her share of the share too
- Local! We eat seasonally – no blueberries in January
- Organic! There are a million reasons for this which I will share in another post
- Community! Supports local business
- The greater good! Supports sustainable farming
- Fresh! Is tasty way longer than store-bought – some items are still fresh after more than a week
- Ripe! Food is picked when it is ready
- Flavor! It honestly tastes better
- Service! Great customer support – if something is inadvertently damaged, I receive a credit
- Convenience! I can manage my account online
- Budgeting! I can pay for it ahead of time
- Knowledge! I learn about what grows locally and how to eat seasonally
- Greener! Less transportation and packaging
- Suspense! Every week is like Christmas morning, when I open up the bin, I immediately start dreaming up new recipes
To find a CSA in your area, check out farmigo.com. If you cannot find one in your area, do an Internet search for ‘local organic produce box’ as there are many places that run similar programs independently.