Monday, February 23, 2009

Community Sponsored Agriculture: Investment with visible returns

Steve and I bought into a local Brooklyn-based CSA last summer for several reasons. Firstly, I was spending way too much money at the farmer’s market. I’d see all the beautiful vegetables and go crazy, buying things ‘cause they looked cool, or because I couldn’t wait to shove them through our juicer (we’ve gotten rid of that). Or because I had elaborate dishes dancing around my head that all too often got lost in the busyness of life, combined with a regrettable amount of laziness on my part when trying to recover from chaos and stress.

In spite of all my fruit and veggie purchases, we didn’t eat nearly enough of them. So Steve crunched the numbers, and we committed to a weekly pickup of seasonal harvest: fruit, veg, 6 eggs, and a bunch of flowers each week. I committed to not buying any additional fruit or veg unless completely necessary, something I was able to stick to for the most part. And we were happy to be investing directly in local food production. The farm we got our produce farm was on Long Island, so the carbon footprint of our food was reasonably low.

I have to admit, I didn’t always get around to cooking everything we got—we got a lot of food. For 2 people I think a 2-times-a-month pickup would’ve been sufficient for us. But we ate a lot of it, we ate seasonally, ate a little healthier, and we tried a lot of new things I never would have thought to pick up otherwise. And we ended up saving some money over the long run, which is always a bonus.

There’s a lot of CSAs across the country. I encourage you to look into it, see if it’s right for you. This is one good link that can direct you to CSAs across the country:

Some of them do fruits and veg, some also have eggs, some even have free-range meat (I would love to find a good CSA with a meat share!). It all depends on the availability of CSAs in your area.


  1. Rachel, great post. I might just look into the CSA thing. Since we are in the middle of farms and farm markets, it's never seemed necessary. But we still have to drive--and get organized and motivated to go--to the farms and markets. We are lucky: our neighbor's sister-in-law raises chickens, so that's where we get our eggs. And one of Michigan's best providers of natural beef, pork and poultry is just a ways down the road. I found them through Local Harvest, which is an amazing resource.

  2. OMG, you get local eggs? That is so, so cool. There's a woman 2 blocks away from us who keeps a chicken in her backyard--I'm still working up the courage to knock on her door and ask her about it.

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