I became a pescatarian my freshman year of college. For extra credit in my psychology class I had to watch a viewing of Earthlings. Yes, it was an extremist documentary. And yes, I was an impressionable 18-year-old. But that documentary gave me my first real glance into factory farming. It made me realize, more than anything, how disconnected I was from the food I was eating.
A community-supported agriculture (CSA) is a food system model that connects the producer (farmer) and consumer (you) more closely. My coworker introduced me to this concept back in Seattle (shout-out to New Roots) and I was forever hooked! Here in Monterey, we signed up with J&P Organics and have been enjoying their bounty ever since.
CSA’s are truly magical, and if you’ve never experienced them I hope you will. Here’s four reasons why you should consider it:
- You get to eat unique, seasonal produce.
In our grocery store culture, food seasons are non-existent. If you look closely, you can buy a pumpkin or acorn squash any time of the year. CSA’s eliminate this entirely and only offer authentic, seasonal fruits and vegetables that are locally grown. The best part is you can experiment with funky things like rainbow chard and persimmons.
- You get to support local farmers.
This doesn’t need much explanation. It feels really good to spend your money locally and give it directly to a farmer. You are enjoying the fruits of their labor and supporting their business. That feels so much better than sliding your credit card at the cash register.
- It’s cheaper than you think.
If you’ve ever bought an organic bell pepper for $3 a piece, you know what I’m talking about. Good, fresh produce does not always come cheap. CSA’s are surprisingly affordable, considering how much you get for your money. From what I can find, they usually range from $15-$30 per week.
- You can find a CSA that suits your lifestyle.
Depending on where you live, CSA’s can vary. You can find some that deliver or offer special pick-up zones. Some are strict, while others allow you to add and swap out items you don’t want. Here in Monterey, our CSA is flexible and allows you to opt-in/op-out each week. Every week we receive an email of their bounty and can decide whether we want it or not. We can also add on farm-fresh eggs and flowers.
Interested? Visit www.localharvest.org/csa to find a CSA near you.