To be completely honest, I never really knew what a CSA was. It wasn’t until I became vegan, became a regular at my own local farmers market and befriended an organic farmer that I found out what it meant. So, I would like to share what I know with you, so you never have to feel out of the loop or silly like I did.
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. The long and short of it is, the consumer purchases a share for a predetermined price which can range somewhere between $600 for full share and $350 for a half. The money is paid directly to the farmer before their growing season begins. The financial support can come at a time when funds are needed but may not be coming in. Then, in the spring and summer when your farmer starts harvesting their edibles, you pick up a weekly half or full share. The CSA we belong to runs for 20 weeks which means that every single week for 20 weeks we will have a bag waiting for us of organically grown produce that was created locally. It is investing in our future health and the health of our community by supporting our local farmers. It is the perfect symbiotic relationship and I am grateful to be a part of it. For the longest time, I never realized how important it is but I do now.
The farm we chose is called Living Stones Farm. They go beyond farming by providing transitional job training and empowerment opportunities for those returning from incarceration. They teach sustainable agriculture in an atmosphere of acceptance and accountability. Before I was even aware of their community work I could hardly purchase enough of their vegetables and greens from the farmers market. I would stand in front of their booth and wonder if their spinach and sunflower shoots had been magically grown with only love and sunshine. Turns out, they were.
Amy, the creator of Living Stones Farm is kind beyond words, compassionate in an other-worldy way and the type of person you would want growing your food. Now that I know (from her) what it is like to go through a Michigan winter needing things to help your farm succeed, I realize how great the need for CSA members is. It represents the livelihood and nourishment of our own families and the families of our neighbors. Last week we left the market with a bag full of the most lovingly grown vegetables and greens to enjoy through out the week and it was wonderful.
A CSA share felt like a large investment on the upfront but when I amortized it over the next 2o weeks and took
into consideration what I believe my health is worth…it is an amazing deal. I am worth it, we are worth it. Nourishing our bodies with clean and vibrant food is more important than anything else we can do to keep our bodies strong and free from disease.
Check out your local farmers markets for farmers doing CSA’s. If the shares are sold out for this year, purchase edibles from potential farmers to partner with while they are at market. That is the best way to see if you want them providing food for you and your family. Like an informal and more fun job interview.
Handing my money to the farmer that grew my food makes me feel close to nature, close to my community and responsible for nurturing my body and health. That feels and tastes really, really good.
Have a delicious day.
Tags: buy local, community supported agriculture, compassionate eating, compassionate products, CSA, dairy free, going veg, Living Stones Farm, plant based diet, support local farmers, trying vegan, trying vegetarian, vegan, vegan challenge, vegan experience, vegan wannabe