Last week we touched on how important it is to eat local. Not only does it provide more nutrients and flavor because your food didn’t have to travel across the U.S. to land on your plate, but it’s greener and it helps out the local economy. The challenge with eating locally is where do you find locally grown food? Aside from growing it yourself, you usually have to go beyond the neighborhood grocery store.
As we discussed in our last post, some communities have gathered and created community gardens where members work tirelessly for fresh, organic veggies. But what if you don’t have time? What if your community doesn’t have a garden, or what if you just don’t like gardening? That’s where a CSA comes in.
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. CSAs are programs started by your local farmers. Instead of hoping the grocery store around the corner supports local agriculture, you can skip the middle man and buy directly from the farmer.
How does it Work?
Every season, the farm determines a certain amount of shares they will set aside from their crop each week for their CSA members. In order to become a member of a CSA, you must sign up and pay in advance. As soon as the season starts, you are then able to pick up your “share” every week or every other week, depending on the type of share you purchased.
There are usually half shares and full shares — which determines the frequency of your vegetable pick-ups. The pick-up locations are usually either at the farm, a local market, or a stand within city limits that is set up for members to come at specified times.
What are the Benefits?
· Meet and chat with the people who grow your food – you might learn something!
· Receive the freshest vegetables around.
· Become exposed to new vegetables and even new recipes, as most CSAs pass out recipes for the vegetables in each share.
· Help support the local economy.
· Usually get to visit the farm itself at least once a year.
· Some farms host weekly events your family can attend, like canning workshops or herb drying classes.
CSA’s in Hillsborough County:
· Sweetwater Organic Farm in Tampa
· 3 Boys Farm in Ruskin
· Urban Oasis Hydroponic Farm in Tampa
· Steed Farms in Plant City
So why not go local? It’s better fresher and greener! To find out more about locally sustainable practices or being involved in your community, visit our website!