Community Shared Agriculture

6:00 PM

I just attended a great talk at the Western Fair Farmers' Market through On the Move Organics. It featured a farmer from Aylmer, Ontario who runs the Triple Cord CSA.

A CSA is a program where people pay up front to secure a number of weeks of fresh produce. In this case it is $400 for a small, or $600 for a large, box of organic fruits and vegetables, grown in Aylmer, for 20 weeks - starting May 21st and ending October 1st. Boxes can be picked up Saturdays between 8am and 3pm at the farmers' market. They are packed full of fresh, organic produce ranging from spanish onions to potatoes to kale and even berries. There is also an opportunity half way through to visit the farm and get a tour of where and how everything is grown.

Reasons to join a CSA:

Support a farmer! These hard workers incur all of their costs at the beginning of the season and all of their profit at harvest - it's not easy on their bank accounts. By paying up front you give them both income for purchasing seed, etc. and a guaranteed market so they know exactly what to grow. It saves them from wasting a work day at the market when they could be tending to the crops. This in turn promotes the local economy.

Receive quality produce! You know this stuff will be fresh and organic. It will have high nutrient content and the very person who grew it will be giving it to you with pride. Grocery store produce is not often picked ripe and doesn't receive full nutrition. Instead it sits in a truck pumped with ethylene gas until it looks ripe. You eat a red tomato, but you get the nutrition of a green tomato. And grocery store produce is genetically bred for shelf stability and looks not taste and quality. Besides if you have a box of fresh vegetables sitting in the house you're going to eat a lot healthier than usual.

It's better for the environment! Rather than shopping around for avocados grown in Chile that must use gallons and gallons of gas getting to your plate why not eat the local food that your body was designed for that has only traveled less than an hour. When you accept a box of produce you eliminate the incredible food waste that goes on in grocery stores because people pick and choose what they want that week. And if it's organic you can be sure the soil and water practices are ethical and planet friendly.

Enjoy a new experience! Not only will you learn a lot about farming when you're touring the land but you'll come to see what crops thrive or don't in certain weather. Perhaps the melons in your box will be smaller this week because rain fall has been short, or your box will contain more spinach than arugula because weather's been unseasonably cold. You will also learn about vegetables that you wouldn't normally cook with (kohlrabi, turnips, bok choi), forcing you to experiment. If you receive an abundance of something one week that can't be eaten or shared before going bad maybe you'll learn a new method of preservation. This also grows community because it gives other CSA contributors a chance to talk amongst each other about uses for certain vegetables.

You can get more information about the Triple Cord CSA by emailing Jeff at onthemoveorganics@gmail.com or visiting the farmers' market on a Saturday.


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