Sustainability: 9 Reasons Why You Should Join a CSA and 2 You Shouldn’t
I know I know. It’s winter, or close to it. The days are still getting shorter.
Who in their right mind would be thinking about gardening right now though? American Thanksgiving. Black Friday. Not time to work. Hell, we had a storm last week and out of the ten or so exits from Kingston, only one was viable. I was turned around at three exits because of an accident or the general inability to drive. (I’m thinking mainly the latter, but there were a few of the former.)
Truth be told however, this is the time gardeners are thinking about what they’re going to plant in next year’s garden. The ground may be covered in white, but gardeners are dreaming of green. It’s the perfect time of year for you to find a Community Shared Agriculture (CSA) (sometimes called Community Supported Agriculture) for next year’s dinners and here’s why.
9 Reasons Why You Should Join a CSA and 2 You Shouldn’t.
- Environment Sustainability
When you go from growing your own garden to growing your neighbour’s as well you take on the weight of the world. You start calculating your environmental impact differently. CSA producers are stewards of the land. That’s why when you start buying your groceries from a CSA you’re doing a little bit more for the environment. It’s kind of like a carbon offset except better. In short, it’s good for your karma.
2. Your Food Sucks
So you aren’t such a good cook. Who cares? If you’re CSA producer is any good, they’ll already have a recipe or two waiting with your basket. They likely have a few more in their homemade cookbook too. You can ask advice and get hints. The stock-boy on the other hand is likely going to look at you with either disgust that you interrupted him or fear because you noticed he was there. No Frills really does mean no frills.
- Safer Drive Home
Want to drive on the highway with fewer transports? Every fruit or vegetable you buy from a local source is one that doesn’t come from California or Mexico. With more people buying local we can reduce the number of trucks on the road. That means you get home sooner at night and maybe just maybe there’ll be one or two less accidents on the highway.
- Eat Healthier
Are you a finger cooker? You know. Do you call for pizza? Or do you make it yourself? If you’re inclined to cook for yourself then don’t waste your time on prepackaged cardboard and or ten day old baguettes. With CSA food you can produce a feast fit for a Queen. Do yourself a favour and eat healthier.
- Consistent Supply
Imagine you’re hosting a party and you need the perfect appetizers. You’re an expert at grocery shopping so you head out. You know the perfect day to escape the crowds. You’re a genius. But then when you reach the peppers you realize half of them are great, but the other half are slimy. On second look you can see that you can’t find anything you want because someone scooped it all before you could get there. Yep, someone was just a little bit better and that’s all it took. On the other hand, you go to your CSA and it’s all in your basket. Because you know your CSA they look down on you with just a little pity. Rather than go home empty handed, they say, “Oh ya, just wait and I’ll go pick some more.” Shazzam, you have your happy peppers all lined up for your guests.
- You’re Agoraphobic
Who likes crowds? No one. A thousand people crammed in tiny little grocery store. Every time you turn around you’re tripping over someone as you drag your screaming kids around the store. Then, when you spot the fruit you’re looking for, you smash into three more people and get there just in time for someone else to snatch your food. GONE! Or, you can show up on Monday for your basket. DONE!
- You Want to Know the Pick Date
Want to know the pick date for your veggies? Don’t ask the people at the grocery store. Odds are, they’ll just read the best before date and if you read the CBC’s article last week you’ll know those dates could be fudged after the stockboy takes a whiff at the food to see if it’s still good. Asking your CSA producer will get you a real date. And in all likelihood it was within a day or two, if not that morning. Freshness matters.
- Want to See the Practices
Some people just want to see where their food comes from. In fact, it’s not a bad idea. It is however impossible to do for the food you get at a grocery store. You can’t tell where it came from, who touched it, or if it was ethically produced. A CSA on the other hand is open to the public to see if not to pick your own. As they say, knowledge is power and knowing where your food came from can be the most powerful thing you have for your health and welfare.
- CSA Sustainability
A sustainable CSA requires a strong economical outlook. By supporting your CSA you make all those other benefits happen. With every new client, the CSA becomes stronger. They need you as much as you need them.
And two reasons why you shouldn’t use a CSA.
- You’re an Expert Gardener
In a perfect world, I’d be King and you’d grow your own garden. We’d both have more time than we knew what to do with it and could access the Internet like Neo in the matrix. Sadly it isn’t perfect and I have no Royal blood. That said, if you even have a few hours a week it’s worth it to plant your own garden. You’re children will thank you.
- You Like Beets…
OK, to be fair, if it’s my wife’s garden there will be beets, but not everyone is going to plant the good stuff you want. If you’re inclined to have some of the more exotic produce then you may have to do it yourself. But then again, you never know who else might be looking for that eggplant. Ask your CSA and they might just plant it.