Monday, 3 March 2008

Hooray for the CSA!

We took the plunge this weekend and signed up for a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share in a local organic farm, called Sparrow's Nest Organics. Share-holders pay a set amount of money at the beginning of the year, when the farmers need it to pay for start-up costs. Then, each week the shareholder receives a portion of the local, organic, in season and deliciously fresh produce! According to Graham and Allison at Sparrow's Nest,

As the garden grows and produce matures, you pick up your equal "Share" every week.... The produce is washed, boxed and labeled. Sharers select from a menu board vegetables available that week: each week is different.

A typical weekly Share could include: bunched carrots and beets; potatoes; broccoli or cauliflower; kale or Swiss chard; onion or leek; lettuces; herbs (parsley, oregano, marjoram, basil, thyme); peas or beans; radish; summer squash; tomato; pepper.

Mmm...I can't wait!

In the spirit of community, Sparrow's Nest also encourages shareholders to come and help at the farm, and in doing so they can receive a rebate of up to about 20% of the original share price. Given how little I know about gardening, being able to help at a local organic farm will be an invaluable learning experience for me! I will gain knowlege about what grows in our climate and learn some gardening skills from masters of the art/science/craft. Plus I get to dig in the dirt, which is one of my favorite things.

It just doesn't get any better than that!


DC said...

That's great, Theresa. Please also let us all know how things work out with your Zero Mile Diet seed kit.

Local food is definitely the best way to go. Large corporations are increasingly gaining control of even the organic marketplace. Look at this and this and this. One could argue that this development is not entirely bad because it means that organic production is becoming more mainstream. The problem, however, is that once corporations control enough of the organic sector, they will have the power to push out the remaining little guys. With no one left to compete against, they will be able to water down the organic standards, move organic production overseas where they can pay farm workers slave wages and generally muck up organic agriculture as much as they have traditional agriculture. When the USDA organic standards were first proposed, big corporations wanted sewage sludge and irradiation to be able to be used to produce and treat organic food. Fortunately, a huge grassroots campaign stopped them from succeeding. They will keep trying, however. It's all about making money.

Getting food through CSAs, farmers' markets and our own gardens are the best ways to ensure we are supporting a truly sustainable food system.

Anonymous said...

That sounds fantastic! I look forward to reading about your adventures "on the farm"!

Theresa said...

dc - Oh, yes, I will still be planting my Zero Mile Diet seeds in my expanded garden this year. I have taken a week off work later this month to get the site of the new garden cleared and, if I'm on the ball, some compost and well-rotted manure brought in, and a couple more raised bed boxes built. Hopefully the weather will cooperate!

I am so excited to be part of this CSA! I have been opting for local over organic more often lately, especially if the organic stuff comes from really far away. I also worry about the corporatization of the organic farming industry. The big grocery stores sure got on the organic 'green-wagon' quickly, making me wonder where they'd been hiding their organic farms all this time. Thanks for those links dc - I will check them all out.

Rural A - I will definitely be blogging about it! During the week I've taken off, I'm also planning to go out to the CSA farm for a tour and maybe get my hands a little dirty. I'll definitely bring my camera and post some pictures afterwards, and probably write a post or too with way too many exclamation points!!!

Allie said...

I miss our farm share (it only goes from spring to late fall). It's awesome. I hope you enjoy yours!

Theresa said...

Hi Allie! Thanks for stopping by :) The produce from this share will only go from about June to October, due to our fairly short growing season. But I'm determined to learn how to 'put by' some things so I can enjoy them dried or canned later in the season.

kale for sale said...

I had a CSA membership last year and it definately made me get creative in order to use everything whether we had an appetite for it or not. The surprise of what we would get each week was fun but they didn't let us dig in the dirt!

Simply Authentic said...

yea how awesome! this will prove to be a great choice for you! being able to be involved will be an incredible experience as well. think of all the delicious things you can make with your bounty!

Theresa said...

It is a really big step for me! I am hoping to even work up to biking there to pick up the share, but that could take a while!