Tuesday, February 5, 2008

#167 - Old Hag Erin Has A Farm

EIEOE

OK, playtime is over. Enough with the "Bad Ideas", Story Hour and Meme fun. Back to work already! Whhhhhptttttttinnnnngggggg (that's that whip-cracking noise you make when you say someone is whipped - does not translate well from spoken to written form). Let's get goin' green again! Here's Green Idea #167....


It's happened. FINALLY, it has happened. And I couldn't be more excited!!!!! See, FIVE exclamation points AND bolding AND color -- THAT is how excited I am!

After six months on the waiting list, I am now a bonafide, card-carrying member of a local CSA! Well, I don't actually have a card, per se. But I do have $100 less in my wallet! That counts for something, right?! And yes, I am still tossing around the exclamation points -- I'm positively giddy!

If you don't know about CSAs, let me enlighten you, oh unenlightened one. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture and, in a nutshell, this is how it works: A local farmer decides to start a CSA, so he sells "shares" of his garden. Every week, he harvests whatever is ready to be picked and divvies the food up into equal portions. Each shareholder then recieves one of these baskets filled with fresh, local, organic fruits and/or veggies.

Now that's the basic version -- there are a tons of variations out there. You can find CSAs that will give you a share without a monetary donation, if you donate your time. You can find CSAs that will also have eggs, dairy, flowers or other products. Some CSAs bring the weekly baskets to a central meeting place for pickup, some require you to go to the farm while others may even offer home delivery. Some CSAs will even let you pick and choose which items you want in your basket. They're all different, but all worth checking out!

Finding a CSA in your area is super-simple, thanks to local harvest, the number one informational resource for the Buy Local movement. They have a database of hundreds of US-Based CSAs that offer a wide variety of products. It is easily searched by zip or city and provides all the contact information you would need to get in touch with your local CSA(s). It's how I found my farm, Victory Farms, located just outside of Richmond.

Every CSA is different and I'm sure the costs vary widely. My particular CSA is $500(payable in three separate installments) per season, which runs from April - December. It could, in theory, be a money losing investment if we happen to experience a nasty drought or have locusts descend on us or something. However, I haven't yet heard anyone who said they regretted joining a CSA, and the fact that it took six months to even get in, tells me they must be doing something right.

And I love that I won't have to read labels when shopping to determine whether my produce is local, in season and organic. I'm guaranteed all my veggies will meet those requirements - without wasting any precious brain power - after all, I don't have lots to spare. Also, I'm hoping that getting a big ass basket of fruits and vegs each week will force me and my family to eat healthier. After all, who wants to see their investment end up in the compost heap?

8 comments:

Vera said...

That's great! I would be interested, but my mom does great gardening and has tons of veggies during the summer.

just ducky said...

You suck. (I'm totally jealous.)

Burbanmom said...

HA! In your face, Duckster!

Wow. Is it really, really sad that we trash talk about eco success? ;-)

Maybe we need to get real lives....

Green Bean said...

It is so totally awesome, Burban! I can only imagine how stoked you are. I'm lucky enough to have local farmer's markets dotting the landscape so I can imagine the frustration and hours it must take trying to eat local when you have to rely on the local big box supermarket. This should save you tons of time. Let us know when you get your first delivery! :)

gregra&gar said...

Erin, this is your best post ever. Merely learning of the Local Harvest website is worth mentioning over at my blog. Thanks for all you do, large and small.

leslie said...

Love the trash talk, girls. Let's me know that though we may be back to Green posts, we won't be losing the 'going to hell in a handbasket' flavor that the blog had taken on.
Erin, this is a wonderful post!

crabbydad said...

This is incredible! I just looked up the CSAs in our area and we're signing up with a local farm. I feel just like Oliver Douglas on "Green Acres"! Though knowing my luck, Mr. Haney's gonna end up selling me a bum tractor.

Burbanmom said...

Crabbydad -- that is AWESOME! I hope you post pictures of your veggie baskets and let us know how it's going! Also, it's not the tractor you need to worry about -- it's the sheep. Draw your own conclusions.