Thursday, January 22, 2009

Community Supported Agriculture

Well, spring is on its way (really, it is!) and it is time to begin planning for the growing season. I have begun to consult my resources here at home to begin planning the placement of my herbs and vegetables this year. One of my favorite books is How To Grow More Vegetables (than you ever thought possible on less land than you can imagine) by John Jeavons. I have the hardback 1995 edition, and I do not find any current printings, but there are plenty of used copies for sale.

This handy dandy book discusses soil preparation, bed digging, sustainability, compost, fertilization, seed propagation, garden planning, companion planting, and how to maintain a balanced garden ecosystem. We will be roughly following the 4-Person Family Food Garden plan that discusses a 6-month growing season on 1,302 square feet. We already have some fruit trees in our yard, so we will omit the 7 bare root fruit trees from the plan.

We already have our cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower in the beds, so next will be brussels sprouts (if we choose to plant these), lettuce, celery, and parsley. These are to be planted in flats 6 weeks BEFORE the last frost of spring, so they are on the agenda right away.

This brings me to the real focus of this post, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). If you are not familiar with this term, it is when individuals in a community support local growers on a local level. If you do not have a garden, and have no interest or ability to grow your own food, it would be great if you would choose to support your local growers by pledging to support a particular farm if any in your area participate.

Basically, you find a farm that offers food for direct purchase to you, the consumer. You pay them weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly, and you receive a supply of food from that farm. This could be eggs, produce, fruits, milk, meats, or whatever that farm produces. Some farms require that you pay seasonally all at once, but my experience has been with those who charge a monthly fee. To find CSA participating farms, you can check at Local Harvest.org. If you have a food co-op, join! And ask there about any CSAs in you area.

Other great sites to visit are:
100 Mile Diet: Local Eating for Global Change
PBS Article about "Becoming a Locavore" (I don't personally like the term 'Locavore'...but I should have been quicker on the uptake when we were coining a title...)
Eat Local Challenge
Locavores

This spring, summer, and fall, take the EAT LOCAL CHALLENGE.
Now, even more than last year, small businesses and employees of small businesses will depend on community members for their livelihood, and this includes small and medium sized farms.
Eat healthy. Eat well. Eat Local.

1 comment:

Girl_Industries said...

Locavores - what a great name! Good luck with the new plot, I have definite envy pangs over here with the paved-over back yard that I share with 10 other households. We have a traditional tenement, but still manage to put out a few tubs of spinach, rocket and even courgettes.