agriculture

CSA – Do You Get It??

It’s come to our attention that many people are still unsure what a CSA is and why they are such a great thing to be a part of! So…what is it?

Consumer Supported Agriculture (CSA)

A farmer offers a certain number of “shares” to the public. Shares typically consist of a box of produce, but other farm products may also be included like jams, baked goods, eggs, soaps, herbs, and more! Many farmers will team up with other local farmers or businesses to provide the largest selection of fruit, vegetables, animal, and/or dairy products they can.

Now is the time to get signed up! Typically farmers take a survey from their pledged consumers before the planting season so they can be sure to provide as much of the things you want as they can. Let your voice be heard by signing up before seeds are in the ground!

How does it all start?

Interested consumers purchase a share/membership and in return receive a box, bag or basket of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season. Although half shares are available, a full share will range somewhere between $400-$700 per season for weekly deliveries often from June through late fall. Not bad at all if you compared the same amount of produce with your grocery store, and you get MUCH fresher and generally more sustainably produced food!

Feel good about your place in the food chain!

With a very large amount of produce in supermarkets being trucked and/or shipped in from other regions or countries, a great deal of farmers have turned to monoculture (growing one crop in massive quantities) in order to turn a profit. You can help keep traditional farming alive and provide a reliable income for small farmers by sharing in a CSA program!

CSAs provide the freshest of local produce and sometimes the opportunity to try produce that you may never have known existed! That is super exciting for those bored with the same old selection at the store. Many CSA farms have a couple of events throughout the season which allow its members to visit the farm and see where their food comes from! Some farmers also provide newsletters/communications sharing with their members ways of preparing the vegetables they received and different recipes to utilize their weekly bounty.

It sounds great! What’s the catch?

Well as we all know, growing anything outdoors poses potential problems due to weather, pests, and other conditions beyond our control. Every year farmers take the same risk and, although they take preventive measures to prevent as much loss as possible, sometimes full crops can get destroyed. But turn this around in your head; CSAs provide the chance for the community to support the farmers and share in that risk! Understand that sometimes you may get less of your favorite crop or it may be less than perfect, but on the flip side when crops are abundant you can find yourself with more produce than you ever could have expected! This usually makes you the favorite neighbor on the block when you have to offload extra produce or share a dish you made extra of!

Check out the local CSA options at www.localharvest.org and search based on your city or zip code.

The Demand for Cheap Food May Cost You

      Corn is used for many purposes in the United States. You will find it in almost every product on a grocery store shelf, lip balm, and your gas tank. According to the movie King Corn, each of us is comprised of mostly corn. By having a small strand of hair tested in a lab, it turns out that we are made up of mostly corn ourselves. This sweet product is taking a toll on our animals, agriculture, diet, and economy.
     Viewing this movie inspires deep thought of all products Americans have come to take for granted. Corn tortillas, chips, popcorn, and starch are a few items that immediately follow ‘corn on the cob’ on the train of thought. Hamburgers, french fries, canned fruit, syrup, oils, vanilla extract, and xanthan gum are not usually top of mind when listing corn products. After viewing this film, this writer has an entirely new outlook on, perhaps our oldest American food. It is hard to keep from wondering “Am I mostly corn?”
     Could this explain why sometimes today’s exercise and nutrition enthusiast, if only for a day, feel like their metabolism is like a 40 year old furnace? Sometimes it works great after you throw a log on the embers. Other times it needs tweaking. More often, some of us would love to toss it out and buy a newer model. Human beings are in grave danger of becoming a corn byproduct.
     This film discusses the viability cattle possess to simply survive after years of eating too much corn. Today’s cattle consume 70% of our nation’s antibiotics because of how sick the corn makes them. Without the antibiotics, they would die early and diseased. According to Jamie Oliver, a noted chef, our children are destined to live a shorter life span due to diet and poor nutrition. The inner workings of human beings are getting “gummed up” with too much high fructose corn syrup, maltodextrin, caramel, confectioner’s sugar, and sucralose which are all derived from corn.

Quotes from this film:

“Hamburgers are fat disguised as beef.”
“There is no nutritional value to today’s corn.”
“There is great demand for cheap food.”

Americans who wanted cheap food? There is more than enough. It will cost you $2.98 plus tax for a dollar menu taco, bacon cheeseburger, and a soft drink. It will cost our children about ten years of their life.

King Corn