Community Supported Agriculture is the New way to Shop for Food

I resigned from my job to be a full-time stay-at-home mom to Miss Aubrey.  My husband and I went before the Lord to seek His blessings on this matter.

I remember telling God that in doing this I wanted to still be able to eat organically and travel. Look what God has done! I am eating organically, locally grown food more now than ever before and I am still traveling.

It wasn’t that God initially blessed us with financial increase to be able to maintain the lifestyle that we enjoyed before my resigning. To the contrary, there has been lots of sacrifices.

The Good News tells us to seek and we shall find. That is exactly what happened to me. As I searched for affordable ways to continue to eat organic and all natural foods, God gave me the wisdom to make that happen on our one income budget.

I discovered Truly Living Well listed in a local magazine of organic growers. I also saw an article in our local newspaper. When I learned they were less than 4 miles from my urban home it was confirmation. I had to learn more. This is when I learned what Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is. It’s also known as food cooperatives (a.k.a. “co-ops).

CSA is a process which the consumer (me) receives food directly from the farmers who produce it (Truly Living Well). Generally, the consumer pays one lump sum in advance for a period of time for a “share.” A share consists of a full or half share. I paid $250 for a half share for thirteen weeks. All CSA programs vary, but I don’t have to use my half share consecutive weeks. I get to select which weeks I go until my 13 weeks are used.

Consumers who support CSAs share in part of the farmers’ risk. Crops that do well will be abundant in the share, crops that do less well will be less abundant. This concept allows the farmers, for their part, to have a stable income that doesn’t depend on sunny weather on farmer’s market days. You, for the most part, enjoy prices that are cheaper than going to your local farmers market.

I know what you are thinking, “with risk involved, why would anyone support a CSA? They could just as easily go to the supermarket or pick what they wanted from a farmers market stand.” There are definitely pros and cons involved. It has been my experience so far that the pros out weight the cons.

Let’s explore more of what the pros and cons are, keeping in mind that each CSA varies:

Cons

  • Many co-ops have a set basket of items each week (or every other week) and offer little to no flexibility in substitutions. At Truly Living Well, you are allowed to select the items in your basket from among what is harvested. They harvest every week, but you decided which weeks you would like to pick up.
  • If you have a small family, you may not be able to use all the produce in time. This has not been the case with Truly Living Well as a result of having the opportunity to invest in a half share.
  • Home delivery may not be available, and pick-up times may not match your schedule or be in close proximity. As a result of the current gas prices, Truly Living Well no longer delivers; however, they have two locations for pick-up and pick-up ends at dust.

Pros

  • You get to branch out and try new foods. This has definitely been my experience so far. I never really purchased kale, but because it was there I was like “hey, why not?” I have also made it a point to try food in its natural state- raw. Surprisingly, it doesn’t taste bad at all.
  • Fresh produce on hand encourages healthy eating habits.
  • You have a steady supply of fresh produce grown via sustainable methods. This means that the food is grown without harmful pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. Often these produce is grown organically.
  • You get to enjoy fresh-picked, wholesome, highly nutritious and above all, safe and delicious food for you and your family.

As someone who was reared by a family who produced much of their own food, I didn’t understand the value in it back then. I do now. If I had it to do all over again, I would take mental note of seed time and harvest.

Much of the conventionally grown food we eat today is void of much of its nutritional value. Not to mention the process foods we have become accustomed. Yet, I thank God that there are people who still farm like they did in the days of old, when things were more natural.

They say people don’t stray too far from their upbringing and if they do, they find their way back. It’s true of me. I am getting back to the way God intended things to be thanks to CSA programs like Truly Living Well.

If you would like to join me, you can look for co-ops in your area at Local Harvest. Other popular co-ops like Bountiful Baskets are currently available in 19 states. You are sure to find something in your area.