So I’ve decided to take up a life of farming. Well, kind of. Well, almost not really at all. But after joining up with the Community Supported Agriculture program I certainly feel like I’m contributing to the farming way of life! Like an honorary farm-hand.
So what’s this Community Supported Agriculture business? Good question. Until about two weeks ago I had no idea either. But in the serendipitous process of doing some research for work I stumbled upon this wonderful gem of an idea.
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a program whereby you (the community) purchase “shares” in a farm to help support the business of agriculture – your money, usually paid before the growing season starts, helps the farm obtain seeds, equipment and all manner of other necessary things needed to grow and procure food, and in return, during harvest time you get fresh, locally grown vegetables!
This innovative concept started in Europe and was brought to North America in the 80’s. These days there are hundreds of CSA farms across Canada and thousands across the USA. If you live in Ontario, check out the Ontario CSA website to search for CSA farms near you; often such farms will have drop off points in urban and suburban areas so that even those not inclined to start up backyard or balcony vegetable gardens can partake in the bounty without digging in the dirt.
I decided to join The Fresh Veggies farm located in Brampton, Ontario mainly because one of their drop off points is in my hometown but other reasons sparked my interest as well. This farm is located in the heart of suburbia, bordered by large housing developments on most sides, a four lane road on another but protected from future sprawl because it has the good fortune to rest on conservation land, oh and a river runs through it. More than a dozen farmers lease bits of the land on the farm, using common equipment and sharing knowledge and expertise to teach and learn the art of farming. The goods produced on the land are sold at the farm, at farmer’s markets and largely through the CSA program.
The facts and figures:
- the cost is $500 for twenty weeks of produce in sufficient quantities to feed a family of four or two vegetable fanatics
- you cannot choose what vegetables you get as it is determined by the crops planted and the seasons (but that’s the fun of it!)
- I can pick up my box of veggies directly from the farm or from a farmer’s market close to where I live
I cannot tell you how super excited I am to start receiving my share of the goods beginning in late May and continuing into the brisk days of October. Twenty glorious weeks, each one bringing the seasonal spoils of the land, locally produced, organically grown, travelling less than 45km from farm to fork AND no middle men! Each weekly box is like a Kinder egg surprise because although you can anticipate the treasure within you won’t know what you’re gonna get until you crack it open. I know this might sound crazy to many of you but I am buzzing with impatience until I get notified that harvest time has begun. Already I am feeling like a celebratory dinner featuring the much-anticipated produce will be in order.
My plan, once the harvest starts, is to share with you what goodies I uncover in my weekly bounty and what I end up doing with them (with accompanying pictures, of course). So cheers to a spring/summer/fall of discovery and recipes….I am literally counting the days!!!PS Thanks mom for taking the plunge with me!
PPS There will be opportunities for me to actually go and visit the farm. How awesome is that? To actually go and see your food grow?? Will definitely plan for that!