It’s the dead of winter – that means not thinking about spring and summer right? Wrong! It’s CSA sign-up season! What’s a CSA?
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is one way to support local farms and acquire local food. You buy into a crop share and the farmer in return gives you a portion of their crop usually from May until November. Many times the farmer will come to you and provide home delivery, or drop off produce at a location nearby. We participated in a CSA when we lived in an apartment and were unable to grow as much food (and unlearned in the nature of container gardening).
For more on CSAs watch the video below.
CSAs aren’t for everyone. Although buying into a CSA made us feel good – like it was the right thing to do we encountered a few problems. One was that you have little to no choice of what comes in your CSA. This is good in that we discovered new foods, but bad, when we became completely over-run with greens like kale.
The second was that it wasn’t very economical. On average CSAs in our region cost around $350-500 for a half share – enough for two people. That works out to be roughly $50-75 a month, or nearly half of our food bill. Because we weren’t as versed in eating fresh foods at the time, we found we quickly went over our budgeted food amount for the month. CSAs can be made cheaper by helping out and working on the farm. Some farms allow for this discount, just ask. CSAs are great once you have oriented yourself to eating fresh foods, but better to ease into it via a farmers market first.
To find a CSA near you visit localharvest.org.