Find a Farmer, Fast!

March 25, 2009

It’s the one April deadline that doesn’t elicit panic…your Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) sign-up! Most farmers will hold informational sessions around this time, so click the link below to locate the nearest CSA by zipcode.

Find your local farmer!

For those of you unfamiliar with CSAs, I’ve included a thorough description below, from CSA is a partnership of mutual commitment between a farm and a community of supporters which provides a direct link between the production and consumption of food. Supporters cover a farm’s yearly operating budget by purchasing a share of the season’s harvest. CSA members make a commitment to support the farm throughout the season, and assume the costs, risks and bounty of growing food along with the farmer or grower. Members help pay for seeds, fertilizer, water, equipment maintenance, labor, etc. In return, the farm provides, to the best of its ability, a healthy supply of seasonal fresh produce throughout the growing season. Becoming a member creates a responsible relationship between people and the food they eat, the land on which it is grown and those who grow it.

Joining a CSA makes sense economically, ecologically and nutritionally:

  • CSA keeps food dollars in the local community and contributes to the maintenance and establishment of regional food production.
  • With a “guaranteed market” for their produce, farmers can invest their time in doing the best job they can rather than looking for buyers.
  • CSA supports the biodiversity of a given area and the diversity of agriculture through the preservation of small farms producing a wide variety of crops.
  • CSA creates a sense of social responsibility and stewardship of local land.
  • CSA puts “the farmers face on food” and increases understanding of how, where, and by whom our food is grown.
  • CSA delivers locally-grown food shortly after it is harvested so there is less nutrient loss than when food travels long distances. Also naturally-ripened food tastes delicious.

FYI: Most farm shares run about 24 weeks, from late spring to late fall, with a weekly pick-up of fresh (sometimes organic, always local) produce. Some CSAs source other food items from neighboring farms, such as milk, cheese, yogurt, eggs and honey. As members of the Washington Square CSA last season, our farmer hailed from upstate NY, so maple syrup was an additional goodie on the list. As soon-to-be-members of our local Brooklyn CSA, we will be carrying home organic flower bouquets in addition to vegetables, fruit and eggs.