Steve and I joined a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) this year. I’m pretty excited about it, Steve feels a little unsure. I have a lot of friends involved in agriculture and I know that some will wonder why I would do this. I am fully in favor of agriculture and of increasing food production levels and improving technology. We need to do so not only on our farms, but also within our food processing facilities to allow us to provide more food, for more people, at better prices. However, I also have a lot of personal reasons to join this CSA. I think that supporting agriculture and being a member of a CSA are very compatible notions. From reading all of the tweets out there in the twitterverse, sometimes those who call themselves “pro food” (isn’t everyone who eats profood?) and those involved with ag don’t see that they do not have mutually exclusive goals. I hope to show why I feel that the larger community known as “ag” (I refuse to call it big ag because most farms ARE family farms) and the so called “pro food” concept can co-exist.
10) I don’t have time to garden. It’s not a lie, I work 50+ hours a week and I have a 2 hour commute each day.
9) I don’t have a good spot for a garden. The septic field consumes the part of my yard that gets the best sun. The rest isn’t really appropriate for a large garden.
8) The CSA is helping to keep some green space in an area of Saginaw where it is getting pretty built up. I like to protect green areas within our local community.
7) Price. I paid $300 for a half share (enough veggies for 2 omnivores). I think that it would have cost me much more to eat this variety of foods from the store. I may have spent less, but I also wouldn’t have had the great variety in my diet.
6) This will force me to eat healthier. I don’t like to let things go to waste. I’m going to have a bunch of vegetables to eat, so I’m going to eat more vegetables.
5) This will really improve the variety in our diets and meal selections. Steve and I get stuck in ruts sometimes where we eat the same 5 foods every week for a long time. Already in the first week of the CSA we’ve had 2 new dishes!
4) Tomatoes! I LOVE garden fresh tomatoes. I love different varieties of tomatoes. Those tomatoes we get in the store here in Michigan are tasteless in comparison. My favorite part of summer is delicious tomato sandwiches. You start out by toasting a couple slices of bread, add a bit of mayo, a sprinkle of pepper, and then take a thick slice of the ripest, juiciest tomato you can find! It is a delicious treat.
3) Our local economy needs this. We spend a lot of money bringing in foods from the outside. It’s nice that this is helping to support our local economy. Not only the farmers, but also the local companies they’ve used to drill a well, purchase supplies for the shed etc.
2) I love to gamble. The CSA keeps you connected to your food. Even as a pretty much urban dweller, I get the excitement of dealing with the hand Mother Nature deals me. Maybe I won’t get any sweet peas this year because the frost got them, or perhaps a tomato worm wipes out half the crop (Seriously, anything but that, please!). I like the idea of living through just a tiny fraction of the gamble that our food providers (farmers) have to deal with.
1) Nostalgia. I am nostalgic for the big garden of my childhood. I loved the green beans, we would have so many we’d can them. I loved the tomatoes (stop it with the tomato talk already, they won’t even be ready for a while!) and the snap peas. At the time, I hated that my parents made us tend the garden, but in retrospect, I’m glad they did. Also, I guess that because of my upbringing it seems like what you do when you are a “grown up” is to provide your own food. My Dad was always off hunting or fishing and bringing home something delicious to eat. We had the big garden and we would have extras we’d can for winter. I’m sure that my parents did this because money was tight with 5 kids! But, in my mind, this is something that grown ups do.
Anyways, hopefully my reasoning will make sense to some of my ag friends. I haven’t abandoned my beliefs! As a birdwatcher especially, I depend on agriculture not only for my food, clothing etc, but also for my entertainment! If our farmers couldn’t produce excess food for Americans, when would they have time to produce the seeds for me to feed my birds, or the grain & livestock for my dog food? As a dog owner and birdwatcher, I depend on “big ag” for a lot of the things I’m passionate about. It says a lot about the richness of our culture and the success of our farmers that we have so much food, we can feed birds and dogs. In other countries, they hardly have enough food for their babies.
Anyways, I’ll step off of my soapbox now. If you think I’m crazy, sound off in the comments. As long as your comment isn’t offensive or vulgar, I’ll approve it.
Oh, and here’s an picture of my first distribution.