When I tell people I am taking part in a CSA this year, I usually end up getting a look like this O.o or just awkward silence. I think maybe people think it is some kind of government program, or something they would rather just not know about. But simply put, a CSA is Community Supported Agriculture.
So what exactly is a CSA? Basically a CSA is two groups. A group of local farmers and a group of people who wish to purchase their goods. Think of it as Groupon for farmers. The group of consumers (like you and me) get together and purchase “shares” of the farmers goods. The total amount is divided amongst the farmers, and each week you get fresh local produce from their farms. And that is basically it! Easy peasy lemon squeezy.
Here where I live, I participate in the Grow Youngstown program. This is my first year participating, and to say I was excited was an understatement. I pay a little over $300 for a family share that lasts 18 weeks. The good thing about Grow Youngstown though is, for families that are under the “poverty line” they offer what is called a subsidized share. For a subsidized share, you fill out a small questionnaire about your family. If you are approved, you pay $36 for the first and last weeks shares, and then each week when you go to pick up your produce you pay $18 for the next weeks share. Grow Youngstown also offers a single share, but only a family share is offered in subsidized form.
This past Tuesday was my first pick up for my share. For my $18 worth of produce, I was given a large bag of red leaf lettuce, a large thing (for lack of a better word) of bok choy, a bunch of swiss chard, two large kohlrabi, a bag of sugar snap peas, two good sized zucchini, two softball sized (FRESH…yum!) tomatoes, and one large white crisp onion. It may not seem like much, but have I mentioned it is all ORGANIC!!
That is the beauty of a CSA. You know where your food is coming from because it is all local farmers. You know it is fresh because it is locally grown and doesn’t have to travel. In fact, most of our local CSA’s produce is picked that day! AND more often than you would think, if they are participating in the CSA program, they are worried about the environment, and like our local CSA provide ORGANIC produce at a price that can’t be beat!
So now that you know what a CSA is, how a CSA works, and how it saves you money you can participate in one near you!
For those in NE Ohio, Grow Youngstown sent me an email this morning to let me know they are opening up 20 more shares for pickup beginning the 23rd of July. For more information on Grow Youngstown’s Farm to You program you can go to http://www.growyoungstown.org or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org They have a ton of information on their website including what payment types they accept, how to reach them, and the numerous pickup locations, as well as info on their other shares available for meat, cheese, eggs, honey, and more!
So for the blog, look forward to CSA Tuesdays when I share what I get in my CSA box, and what recipes I plan to make with it!!