What is CSA:
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, which can mean many things including shopping at local farmers markets or farm market stores but it is often a subscription program that supports direct farmers in a given area. This is a program that allows a local farmer to get their community involved in their farming business which then provides support to their farm’s success. This is done by local community members buying a subscription of fresh local produce on a weekly basis, with payments provided prior to the immediate growing period of the crops. This allows local farmers to buy seed and hire employees in preparation to the main growing seasons, prior to harvest, which allows them to level their cash-flow, increasing their chances of success. In return, local farmers work to provide healthy, locally grown produce at a competitive price to their customers. A farmer also usually provides community members access to special programs including education about how their food is grown. At Greater Greens we cherish our CSA members, because they help us grow and thrive as an Organic Bio-diverse farm, which is at times costly and labor intensive. But we believe the added cost and effort is well worth it to do our part in helping reverse the impacts of agriculture on the environment. Your support of our CSA allows us to offset these costs so you can feed your family healthy, clean food, while also knowing your supporting a sustainable farming business.
Why Participate in a CSA:
1. You’re supporting your local farmers – with more than 1Mio acres of farmland lost in the US each year, and more and more small farmers being pushed out by large mono-crop producers, sustainably sourced produce is becoming a challenge to find with consistent quality and reliability. In addition to this, less than 1% of agriculture in the US is produced using organic practices, yet its the fastest growing sector in the food industry. This means, to fill this growing need, the US is needing to import more and more produce from overseas. The best way you can reverse this challenging trend is to support your local farmers that farm with practices that will help drive positive environmental change and bring you healthy food regularly.
2. It encourages you and your family to consume more fruits and vegetables – having produce available to you each week will allow you to ensure it is incorporated in your daily eating habits. Most people try to do this but until its in front of them regularly struggle to eat them as often as they would like. With your CSA box weekly, you have no excuse not to eat and love beautiful, healthy and clean produce and help your family thrive. At Greater Greens we also focus on farming practices that pack nutrients into our produce. This is key since studies have shown over a 25% reduction in vitamins, minerals and nutrients of commercial grown food when compared to 30 years ago. So its important to eat those servings of fruits and vegetables but to also be sure they are free of harsh chemicals and providing an adequate nutrient source.
3. You get to experiment with different types of produce – its easy to just stick to the basics when you go to the grocery store and to just eat the same thing over and over. But most nutritionists will say that diversity of food is key to healthy eating. With a CSA you get the opportunity to try new produce you may not normally think of buying and often great recipes are shared to learn to cook it. People realize there are so many great fruits and vegetables available that they were not even aware existed. At Greater Greens we offer a basic essentials box for those less adventurous, but also a premium box which provides a much broader variety of healthy, nutrient rich produce.
4. You can have seasonally grown produce and also year round staples – since it is good for our bodies to experience change in food diversity throughout the year we provide a wide array of seasonal produce but also provide some basic staples to support easy cooking for busy lifestyles. Since we only provide in our CSAs what we grow or at times what our local affiliate organic farmers grow, you know that what you get is always local and always fresh. At Greater Greens we are excited to offer indoor, Aquaponics, greenhouse production as well as an extensive out-door operation. This allows us to operate with a wide variety of produce year round.
5. It saves you money – while some people are shocked when they see the cost of CSAs is usually because they see the full annual cost in front of them, and most people never look at their grocery bills in this way. But we encourage your to do the math as our CSA customers usually save between $10-$20 each week on their fruits and veggies. So not only are they getting extremely fresh local produce while supporting a local farm business, but they are also savings $500 – $1000 per year on their grocery bill. Buying directly from local farmers cuts out the middleman and transportation costs helping you save money. And on top of this we see much less food waste because we handle fresh daily picked produce and if we don’t sell it or use it within the intended week we donate it to local food banks. You can even donate a share you cant pick up and feel good about helping those less fortunate also get healthy fruits and vegetables.
So whats not to like about joining a CSA. Now you have the skinny on CSAs and the benefits – we encourage you to check out our different CSA programs to see if there is one that is the right fit for you. We also have provided CSA guidelines which provide our terms and conditions and how the pick-up program works. We are excited to partner with you soon on making our farming practices in the US more sustainable and enjoying the harvest as well.