Looking for an easy way to buy local, organically grown food? Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) makes it easy! For over 25 years, CSA has become a popular way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer.
Here are the basics: a farmer offers a certain number of “shares” to the public. Typically the share consists of a box of vegetables, but other farm products may be included. Interested consumers purchase a share (aka a “membership” or a “subscription”) and in return receive a box (bag, basket) of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season. This arrangement creates several rewards for both the farmer and the consumer.
Advantages for farmers:
- Get to spend time marketing the food early in the year, before their 16 hour days in the field begin
- Receive payment early in the season, which helps with the farm’s cash flow
- Have an opportunity to get to know the people who eat the food they grow
Advantages for consumers:
- Eat ultra-fresh food, with all the flavor and vitamin benefits
- Get exposed to new vegetables and new ways of cooking
- Usually get to visit the farm at least once a season
- Find that kids typically favor food from “their” farm – even veggies they’ve never been known to eat
- Develop a relationship with the farmer who grows their food and learn more about how food is grown
Go here for more information on a CSA near you. Lucky for UT, Paula Ross from UT’s Urban Affairs Center worked with a local CSA, Riehm Farms from Tiffin, Ohio, to set up a pickup location behind R1 on Main Campus! Riehms Farms grows everything with organic practices. You can sign up for shares of vegetables, fruit (sold out for 2013), eggs, beef, and even artisan bread! You pick up your shares each week for 20 weeks from June to October! If you are thinking about signing up, do so soon! You must sign up before June 1st because the first pickup is the first week of June!
So do your part to support your local farmers, your local economy, and your personal health and well-being and consider joining a CSA!