May 8, 2009–Today’s Way: I know I just did a post about purchasing from local farms via produce stands and farmer’s markets, but I felt that a discussion of food co-ops, or Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), deserved its own post.

In a time when farms and independent farmers are disappearing in increasing numbers every year, Community Supported Agriculture offers a new approach in saving the family farm.  In essence, CSA is a program where you purchase a year or a season of produce from a local farm in advance.  The farmer then provides weekly pickup or dropoff points of your fresh produce for the duration of your pre-agreed period of time.  Each member or subscriber owns a share of the crops produced, and at the same time, ensures that the farmer is able to stay a farmer.  I love this idea, because it creates a direct connection between families and their food, and decreases the dependence of farms upon government subsidies in order to survive.  Also, most CSA farms focus their growing talents upon diversity among crops, with vegetables as well as fruits and some even provide herbs, honey, eggs and dairy—as opposed to the ubiquitous single-crop fields of corn or grain intended for animal feed which have become the primary focus of industrial farming (and subsidies) in our country.  Increasingly, CSAs are offering certified organic produce to their memberships, which is good for the health of our planet as well as its people.

For more information about where to find a local CSA or co-op near you, visit CSAFarms.org, or one of my favorite sites, LocalHarvest.org.

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