You may have heard the term “CSA” from your friends and family and wondered what it meant. Or, perhaps you are looking to feed your family more organic produce and food and are looking for an easy way to accomplish that. CSA’s can help.
What is a CSA?
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. It is a group that pools local farm resources and sells them to you for delivery to your door. Many CSA’s operate online and cover a specific region, where you can place a delivery order if you live in the region. CSA’s are great because in addition to supporting your local farmers, they contribute to a sustainable economy. Most CSA farmers practice organic and environmentally sound standards, and the prices are great for high quality and fresh food with delivery!
In fact, CSA’s are great for a perfect fit for families like mine, who can’t keep produce on the shelves because the kids eat it so fast! Weekly deliveries of fresh produce are also useful if you are juicing, following a vegan diet, or are switching to a lifestyle that requires a lot more organic produce for health and fitness reasons.
A CSA is easy to join. For most of them, you simply and order what box or items you want. “Boxes” or “bins” are filled with items that have a common theme and are a good value. For example, the CSA I use has a “Dirty Dozen” box, complete with organic versions of produce from EWG’s list of produce with the most toxic pesticides, like apples and strawberries.
For a CSA to work properly, you need to get what’s in season and what’s in the box. You might not necessarily know week to week for your local CSA, but often they will post on a website or social media what they plan on offering. It doesn’t always work out and while this may deter the less adventurous (I still have no idea how to cook chard), it is a great way to introduce new fruits and vegetables into your diet. Many CSA’s offer tips and advice on what to do with what’s in your box in a newsletter, blog post or similar way.
Is a CSA a Good Fit for Me?
There are pro’s and cons when you sign up with a CSA. Look through these to get an idea of what is of concern andhow it fits with your life and values:
- Supports local farmers and sustainable food initiatives.
- Offers produce that is fresh, organic and in season.
- Affordable way to get organic foods.
- Delivery to your door at a specified time makes it convenient.
- May offer other organic and clean foods options for convenience too.
- You may not get the products you want if they are not available this week.
- May be more than you need and some products will not last.
As you can see, the pro’s outweigh the cons. That said, every CSA is slightly different. For example, I can order individual produce from mine, but it will not be as cost effective as ordering one of their bins.
For readers in the California area, I want to introduce you to FarmBox LA, a CSA located in Los Angeles and sponsor of ShiftCon. They make sure the farms they work with are environmentally friendly. FarmBox features local farmers and artisans, like Thorne Family Farms, 4th generation farmers in Malibu or ABC Rubarb Farms, with 30 years of experience in herbs, vegetable and rhubarb farming.
FarmBox stands out in making every box different – they guarantee you will get no two the same! Not only that, but they include a newsletter with recipes written by locals chefs and have a nutritionist on staff to answer your questions. Boxes they offer include Fruit & Veggie, CrossFit-Paleo, Grilling, No-Cooking and more. They also have weekly specials that you can add to your order and extras, from eggs and dairy, to meat and seafood. They even have a Fertility Box designed by the Zouves Fertility Center, and can customize any box for allergies or foods you don’t care for by replacing them with other options.