Si es, eh?

Somewhere near you there’s someone looking to make people healthy, connect them to their community, provide top quality service for something everyone has to do already, and be a good steward of some of the most foundational components of life.

But they, like everyone with a great idea, need investors. Venture capitalists. People willing to take a small chance in the hopes of getting superb returns. They need you.

So who is this good-hearted braniac with an idea whose time has come? It’s your local farmer. And his idea is called a CSA.

Before you think that CSA sounds like CDO and visions arise of a world doomed to recession by collapsing farmer’s markets, let me explain what a CSA is.

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Let me cover those words in reverse order:

  • Agriculture – We’re talking food here. Good food. And lots of it. Organic tomatoes, watermelon, bok choi, raspberries, spinach, cucumbers, peas, chard, carrots, potatoes… more than you could probably name. You get a box of produce every week full of freshly picked, organic, sustainably grown fruit and vegetables. Some CSAs even have an option for getting periodic shares of beef or pork or eggs.
  • Supported – Of course, this isn’t free. You’re buying a “share” of the farmer’s crop which he divides up every week. Payment is done up front so the farmer has the money when he needs it: at the beginning (for planting, fertilizing, etc.) Then CSA participants share some of the risk in case a certain crop fails or there’s a drought and the apples are really small.
  • Community – Why would you want to share risk when you can just go to the grocery store? Well this is where “community” comes in. A CSA is strictly a local operation. You’re trying to support a local farmer that will grow food in an accountable, sustainable, organic way. And then you reduce the carbon footprint of your food by having it only travel 5-10 miles before it gets to your plate. You’re also developing a relationship with a local farm, getting to see where your food comes from, and putting your grocery money entirely back into your local economy.

Okay, so what’s this cost? Well, a typical 15-week share will run you about $400. That’s around $25 per week for, well, more fruit and vegetables than you can probably eat. Let me show you a picture of this week’s share from our CSA, Dillwood Farms:

Serious veggies, no? And all hand-picked that day just for me. And I even get to go out in the fields and pick a few more if I need a few extra. At Dillwood Farms the farmer showed Emily and me around and let Benjamin pull some radishes and carrots out of the ground. They even let me go over there and do some hoeing and learn from the master gardener and then take home as much produce as I want. It’s wonderful.

So how would you get involved in a CSA? Well, you can Google “CSA” and “farm” plus your hometown. Or you can go to localharvest.org and search their database of Farms and CSAs.

Farmers should still be taking orders for summer crop shares, so join up soon!

2 Thoughts.

  1. Let me just put it this way – there will be CSAs in heaven. Why not get started now? It’s one of the most redemptive things I can think of in our relationship to the rest of God’s non-human creations in this universe.

    If I had a lot of money, I would actually pay people to participate in CSAs. It’s just that valuable. Now if someone would just start one in Greenville itself, so we don’t have to drive *all the way* to Spartanburg. (tongue somewhat in cheek, given that the average food Americans consume travels 1500 miles from its farm to your plate). Why waste so much gas when there’s food growing in your own “back yard”? Be a co-producer, not a consumer.

  2. Yay for CSAs. I love the fact that we know where the food comes from and that there are no nasty pesticides. And it sure gets more veggies down the hatch!

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