Community-supported living.

In CSA, CSF on July 20, 2011 at 10:15 PM

It’s funny, as youth we spend our months and years itching for independence. We ache for our own piece of ground to call home. To be self-sufficient. To work and to buy what we need. Or so I thought. Then I started building my community – people in my neighborhood, gym, family, networks – who all have similar values about living a good, simple life. Eating well and being healthy is a high priority for a lot of those folks. All of a sudden I was trading my PR skills for free yoga, swapping extra zucchini for fresh eggs, coaching at the gym for going to the gym. No exchange of moneys. Whoa. This was awesome. Felt so good. Okay, I’m side-tracking but that’s where I’m sitting in the world right now.

I’m not trading for everything, though, and I’m not living communally (yet!) and there is always food to be bought. To us, a CSA or CSF is the next best thing. If you’re not sure what I mean, see below. I wanted to write this blog, in part, to help others maneuver the joys and challenges of this method and understand a bit better about why someone would choose to be a part of a CSA or CSF network.

Wikipedia says: Community-supported agriculture, a form of an alternative food network,  is asocio-economic model of agriculture and food distribution. A CSA consists of a community of individuals who pledge support to a farming operation where the growers and consumers share the risks and benefits of food production. 

Meaning that individuals, families, &/or groups do not directly pay for a certain amount of produce but rather support the budget of the whole farm and receive weekly what is seasonally available. Why do this? To a degree, it allows farmers to focus on quality care of the soils, crops, animals and co-workers as well as on serving the customers. There is financial stability in this system which allows for thorough planning on the part of the farmer.

We’re saying to the farm – we want you to be in business. We want to have access to local, organic produce. We want you to treat the environment well. Take care of your workers. Earn a fair price for your crops. We will support you know matter the weather. Even if there is blight. We will choose to support you and accept what we receive, knowing that we’re in this together and you need us and we need you. Sounds like a big group hug, right? It’s better than government subsidized corn products but that’s a whole other post! haha

What’s a CSF? Community Supported Fishery – same concept but fishermen instead of farmers. I’m from Gloucester – America’s oldest seaport and a fishing community at its core – it’s important to me that we create new ways for fishermen to survive, ways that are sustainable and viable. More on that later.

Now you have a little background on the community-supported model. Time to eat!


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