Earlier this spring, we made a pretty cool decision. We joined aCSA. I’ve been talking about this on Facebook and have had a lot of people ask me about it, so I figured it was time for a blog post.
What’s a CSA, you ask?
Well, CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. This is when a farmer offers a certain number of “shares” that are available for the public to purchase. These shares are usually a weekly box of vegetables or other goods that are produced on the farm, and can be picked up at the farm or at local drop-off points that are more convenient for shareholders.
There are a lot of reasons why this is awesome…
For us, it means getting to feed our family with food that has been grown and harvested less than 25 miles away from where we live. We have met the people who cultivate this produce with their bare hands, and Charlie has even ridden in a little red wagon with their daughter.
For the farmers, it means getting to market their goods early in the season. When the sun starts beating down and they start pulling bajillion-hour days, they can work knowing that a lot of their produce has already been bought and paid for. With shareholders paying up front, the farm can start the growing season with the funds they need to keep everything running like clockwork. For some more reasons and specifics check out Local Harvest’swebsite.
What I really really love is that it provides us with a way to give back to the community without breaking our budget.
Are you ready for some specifics?
The CSA we joined is a farm out of Martell, NE called Robinette Farms. Owned and operated by a pretty kick-butt family, this farm seems like the perfect place for us to begin our foray into the world of CSA’s. Last Saturday, they held an open house in which members could visit the farm, see the fields, and meet the chickens.
We bought a medium share at $400 and will be getting a box of produce (medium share boxes are supposed to feed 2-3 adults) every week for $20 weeks.
This may bring up questions of budget…as it should. Is this really a necessary expense? Can you really afford $400 up front? That comes out to $20 per box of vegetables…is that really worth it?
Well, we’re not quite sure if it’s a necessary expense. Fresh, local produce is something that is starting to become important to us, and the fact that we are supporting local agriculture is a huge plus. Hopefully, we’ll be able to replace some of our usual groceries by getting creative with all of our vegetables, and consequently save ourselves money in the long run. We decided it was something we wanted to try, and we made it a priority to set money aside. As far as $20 a week being worth it, I guess we’ll find out. Since this is farming, there is some shared risk involved.
The farmers can’t just wake up at the end of Winter and say, “Hey, God…so it’s almost growing season…how about if I agree to stop saying OMG on Facebook, you give us a plentiful harvest…deal?”
We have to come to terms with the fact that sometimes hail beats the crap out of tomatoes, and sometimes it doesn’t rain for weeks. We’re investing in this farm, we’re taking a risk…a risk that we were able to comfortably save for. A risk that allows us to contribute to the community while nourishing our family. Sounds like a pretty good risk to me.
…It also sounds like great blogging material. Be on the lookout for pictures of our weekly boxes and meals using our delicious, uber-fresh, local produce!