With all the conversations I’ve had of late about the farmer’s market, eating fresh, and supporting local… CSA baskets have come up more than once. While there’s always one friend who is totally on board, and has already purchased a share, most around the table look at you, and say “Huh?”.
A CSA, or Community Shared Agriculture, is a farmer production approach that focuses on producing local, high quality food. The CSA program ensures a direct relationship between the farmer and purchaser, and gives the purchaser fresh seasonal food straight from the farm! Each farmer has a different method to provide their purchasers or consumers with food, some having weekly drop offs, or even monthly. You can also customize the amount you get with full, half or quarter ‘share’.
The benefits of CSA share programs goes beyond just having local fresh food accessible to consumers. YOU, the consumer, supports your local farmer. The local farmer supports the local economy by their local purchases, including hiring locally, etc. This causes a cascade effect for the local community, and further helps the environment. The more local products that are purchased, the fewer products (ideally) are needed to be shipped to the community, reducing harmful emissions from transport carriers (source).
Those that are participating in local programs have nothing but positivity and recommendations for the CSA programs. Lindsey G., a participant, gets half a CSA share from Field Good Farms in Cache Bay. “I love getting my weekly basket of fresh organic produce, because it’s affordable for my family and extremely fresh.” Like most programs, payment for Field Good Farms CSA program is required ahead of time, but Lindsey states that “it works out to be much less money spent on produce then I would shopping for what I need at the grocery store.”
She as a consumer, “know(s) that the people who grow the produce are using organic farming methods that not only keep them safe but also keep the environment and habitat around them safe too. The quality of the produce is out of this world. I particularly love the taste of the cucumbers and carrots because they are so flavorful. I also like that there is a good variety of produce in each week’s basket. Everything from lettuce and kolrabi to herbs like basil.”
In Nipissing District there are a couple of options to purchase a share of a CSA, although most farmers prefer shares to be purchased ahead of the season. Farmers will allot for a certain amount during their planting season to go towards a CSA program, and only have a certain amount of ‘spots’ available for purchase. Currently, the Food Roundtable is working on a Resources section to provide all those within the Nipissing area contacts and information around farmers and farms that have CSA shares, and other great food literacy items.
Keep your eyes open for updates, and more to be added to our site!
As a consumer, find some more great information on CSA farms in Ontario here.
For farmers interested in starting their own CSA, follow the link for a PDF manual on the ‘Ins and outs of running a CSA farm in Ontario’ here.