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#2 of the Top Ten Ways to Save Food Energy


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#2 Join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture)

There are some ideas that are great ideas, because they solve or help to solve many problems or improve a situation or are clearly the right thing to do.  Joining a CSA is such an idea.  I will confess up front that I have never done this because I am blessed with a large, productive garden and a love of growing my own food.  So let me reason with you from my inexperience and invite others to comment on their experiences.

There is a good article at http://blog.timesunion.com/eatlocal/csa-guide/619/ 
that will answer many of your questions about CSA’s and give you a list of local farmers offering shares.  Here are the first three questions and answers:

“What is a CSA?: Community Supported Agriculture is a partnership between the consumer and the farmer that allows farmers some financial stability while it gives consumers a better understanding of where their food comes from and how it’s produced.

“How does it work?: A consumer buys a “share” of the harvest, paying for it before the harvest season starts. When the season begins, usually in June, shareholders pick up their freshly harvested produce once a week at a predetermined time and location. The farm’s CSA harvest that week is equally divided among shareholders.

“What if it’s a bad growing year?: Farmers plant a variety of crops to reduce the shareholder’s risk. That way, if tomatoes are damaged by blight or the squash crop is attacked by pests, the farmer can compensate with a bumper crop of zucchini or beans.”

So why is joining a CSA such a great idea?  Here are just a few of the reasons:
• saves energy used for transportation and storage
• reduces your trips to buy food when you receive a weeks worth at once
• eliminates packaging and the fossil fuel it takes to make it
• provides very fresh produce, locally grown
• gives good variety, an opportunity to try new vegetables and fruits
• improves your nutrition by consuming high quality fruits and vegetables
• supports a local farmer and builds a relationship with the farmer
• may have the opportunity to help on the farm
• eliminates the need for the farmer to market his produce in other ways
• contributes to the local economy (your food money stays local)
• saves you time and money
• eliminates decisions on what to buy
• allows you to share excess with your neighbors
• become part of a community that supports “your” farm
• be surprised each delivery
• find others who are interested in organic, local foods
• almost as good as having your own garden, no labor, great food
• get good advice on how to store winter vegetables
• insures good variety over the course of the week
• allows for freezing or canning excess for winter months

You can find other local CSA’s right here on this website:
http://www.oeic.us/community_center/find_local_food

A national clearinghouse for local food sources can be searched:
http://www.localharvest.org

or another local one is here:
http://www.ecovian.com/s/albany/csa

What we eat determines how we feel to a great degree.  Our health is a huge factor in our quality of life.  Joining a CSA contributes to your own well-being and to the health of your community.  It is simply a great idea.


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