Last year, a friend that I worked with signed up for a CSA. For those of you that are unfamiliar, CSA is “community supported agriculture” and involves members paying the farm at the beginning of the season for a share in whatever the farm produces that season. It could be fruits, veggies, breads, cheeses, etc. Your package would get delivered to you at a specific interval (H and I are getting ours weekly) and you get a certain amount of stuff with your share. It tends to be whatever is in season, and very well could be something you wouldnt normally eat, want or even use – this is the downside of these programs.
These programs, however, can be a great way to lower your impact during the summer (and into the fall). One of the things that really busts your sustainability is what they call “food miles” that is, the amount of miles your food had to travel from the time it left the soil to the time it arrived on your plate. Its been estimated that this averages about 1,500 miles for everything you eat. Imagine that, that serving of potatoes on your plate traveled almost 1,500 miles to get there (mine don’t, because Idaho is Wyomings friendly western neighbor, but a potato would still travel 500+ miles to get here). So, in an effort to cut down food miles (and ensure that there are fresh fruits in the house we signed up for a CSA).
Every week, a box of fruit will turn up at our house (or we may need to pick it up, I’m not sure yet) and will be filled with fruits from a farm in eastern colorado. This will go on for 22 weeks, and the cost of each week, it will cost $16.85 cents per delivery. Unfortunately, I cant be sure that this is going to be cheaper than buying the fruit at the store, because when I’m at the store I make an effort to only buy the fruit that costs less than 1.50 per pound. With this CSA, I’ve got no idea what I’ll be getting, so there’s no way I can tell yet if it will pay for itself. I’m excited to try out this whole thing, and will of course report back to you readers how it went.
One of the reasons that I ended up pulling the trigger was that I recently started canning. If there’s something that I cant eat or dont want to eat that week – I’ll be able to preserve what I cant eat with some recipe from the book, or perhaps turn it into jam.
So, if you’re looking for another way to keep your summer green, consider signing up for a CSA. I found my through word of mouth, but I did a few google searches “your city” CSA and came up with some good hits. If I were you, I’d ask around with some friends, then consider going the google route.
Readers: Are you a member of a CSA? Do you think they are too expensive and not worth it? Or are you going to try to find one for yourself this summer?