I’ve started a mini-series on the blog focusing on supporting local farms. My first post in this series focused on supporting farmers markets. It’s truly one of my favourite ways to shop for produce. You get the most fresh and flavourful ingredients possible, and you’re supporting the local organic farmer who’s struggling to keep organic foods flowing onto our tables and plates. Today I wanted to share some information on CSA’s and how you can support your local farms by signing up.
What is a CSA? It stands for Community Supported Agriculture. This type of service benefits both the consumer and farmer, as consumers get good quality, usually organic and safe foods and the farmers receive stability as they are guaranteed income from their crops. This service is usually offered as a one-time (annual) fee, paid directly to the farmer to receive a ‘cut’ of his/her crops. You then receive food boxes straight from the farm to your door, filled with yummy organic local produce. Depending on the CSA you can have your goodie box delivered weekly or bi-weekly and there are usually a variety of options available depending on your family size.
Why Choose CSA? This is such an important question as this will either convince you to try it or make you continue buying produce from where ever at your local supermarket. By purchasing a CSA you are guaranteed to receive produce from your local area, grown with love and care, and are assured the freshest produce you could ever buy. Most CSA Farms use organic practises which means less pesticides and herbicides and more natural, pure and flavourful. You’re also helping to support and sustain your local farms to continue to feed thousands of families healthy, local and organic foods.
But I Can Buy ‘Product Of Canada’ Produce at My Supermarket, Why Would I Sign Up For a CSA? Did you know that the term ‘Product Of Canada’ does not mean that the food was actually grown in Canada? The Canada Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has loose regulations in using this term which allows products to be labeled deceitfully. Over the past few years the CFIA has been lowering its standards to conform to American Agriculture (which has far worse practices). In 2006 less than 1% of the produce imported from other countries was tested for pesticide residue. Out of that less than 1% only 87% passed. What about the remaining +99% imported and not tested? Sadly, you or someone you know consumed it. It’s sad to note that on an annual basis we lose more and more farm land to residential and commercial development. Our food has to come from somewhere, why not from your ‘backyard’?
Imagine receiving hand-picked fruits and vegetables, fresher than you could ever dream of, being delivered straight to your door. Is there really any reason not to opt for CSA’s?
So How Do I Sign Up? If you reside in Ontario you can find a local CSA at CSAFarms.ca. If you reside in Canada or somewhere else in the world, try googling ‘CSA’ and your local city or town. If you have a farm nearby why not pay them a visit and see if they offer CSA options or if they know of any farms around that do.
Are any of your signed up for a CSA? Have you tried it in the past? What are your thoughts on buying local and organic?