Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Community Supported Agriculture

Spring is in the air – even though we had a tinge of snow today. One of the best thoughts to cross my mind in spring is signing up for this year’s community supported agriculture (CSA) program with one of our local farmers. What’s a CSA, you ask?

CSAs are an amazing way to make your lifestyle more sustainable. (A CSA history.) Local farmers who offer CSA programs allow people like you and me to purchase a share of the coming year’s harvest at the start of the growing season for a set price. From there, most CSAs provide you with a weekly bounty of fresh (really fresh) fruits, vegetables, flowers, and other wares at a standard pick up location. Most summer CSA programs will last from June through September or even October.

With a CSA, you assume some risk with the farmer (think drought), but it’s a win-win all around: Farmers expand their local markets; consumers support local growers, eat a more local diet, and have the satisfaction of knowing who grew their food and where it came from.

Personally, my family has taken part in two different CSA programs with local organic farms—one in summer, one in winter—and has loved them.

Farm Fresh Rhode Island, a Providence-based non-profit that helps businesses and people connect with local food sources, has a list of local CSAs in our area. The closest three based on a zip code search using 02878 gives you:

Manic Organic in Tiverton (

Wishing Stone Farm in Little Compton (no website, but you can email owner, Skip Paul)

Simmons Farm in Middletown (no website, but you can email them)

All three of these farms are certified organic, which is even better. But there are more to choose from. Check out Farm Fresh RI to read profiles of the farms, then reach out to see if there’s still room in their CSA programs.

In a later post, we’ll talk about the local food movement in general. But until then, ponder this stat: When the average North American sits down to eat, each ingredient has typically traveled at least 1,500 miles. (Source: 100 Mile Diet)

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