We’ve posted before encouraging you to try out your local farmers’ market for some of the freshest produce you can get. If you enjoy having access to locally grown fruits and vegetables, your support will help the farmer thrive as well as potentially lower prices by making their trip to your city more profitable. (Transport costs and booth rentals add to the farmer’s overhead costs and impact the price you pay.) Perhaps you would like to contribute even more, but there’s no need to insult the farmer by offering charity. Instead, there are programs called CSAs (community supported agriculture). From RobbWolf.com:

What is a CSA?

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a way for consumers to buy local, seasonal produce directly from a farmer in their community. It is basically a farm share. A farmer offers a certain number of “shares” to the public. Local consumers buy a share into the farm – they support this year’s crop with money up front for a membership, and in exchange, each week during the growing season, they will receive a box of local, fresh, and seasonal produce directly from the farm.

Why CSA?

Community & Economy. CSAs help the local farmers in several ways. Since CSA subscriptions are generally marketed in January/February, the farmers get to spend their time in the fields during the growing season, instead of trying to generate business or sitting at a farmers market. The payment early in the season also helps them fund the crops that year – from seeds to improvements to the soil to new equipment.

Local farmers are small business owners. Spending money with a local business instead of at a big box retailer or chain keeps more of those dollars in your own community. Supporting local businesses does really matter. It is a way of living mindfully, supporting sustainable businesses, voting with your dollars, being an active participant in your own life.

Seasonal & Environmental. If you’ve ever eaten a strawberry picked at the peak of its season, still warm from the early summer sun, then you know the wonderful, intoxicating deliciousness of seasonal produce. Contrast that: if you’ve ever been tempted to buy a strawberry from the grocery store in December, you remember what a bland, flavorless disappointment it was. There really is a difference when you eat produce in season.

What does eating seasonally mean? It means you buy foods that are being grown and harvested locally, right now. It does not mean buying “fresh” green beans in January when you live in New Jersey (those were shipped in from Mexico, probably) or eating “fresh” asparagus in August (asparagus is a very early Spring vegetable).

By buying seasonally, you guarantee that the food is local. You’re not harming the environment by shipping the food thousands of miles (with all the carbon footprint that entails). You also are guaranteeing that you get the freshest, most nutritious and tasty food available.

Are you interesting in getting on board? If so, we’re lucky to have a CSA that has a drop off point in Redondo Beach (Neighborhood Grinds coffee shop) that is run by the PTA of local schools. The farm is Tanaka Farms, based in Irvine, California. More information can be found at the website for Madison, Lincoln and Adams CSA. To join me and get in on the March deliveries (there will be two), you will need to submit your form and payment by this Friday morning. If you have more questions, please ask any of the trainers.

WOD 02.28.11

February Challenge

8 Responses to “What is a CSA?”

February 28, 2011 at 6:42 AM

OMG!!! I just wrote to a NorCal CSA looking for one down here!!!! Marcus you rock!! Awesomest post ever!!!!

February 28, 2011 at 7:44 AM

Ruth and I have been searching for a CSA for a while now in our area. Count us in!

February 28, 2011 at 9:30 AM

We’re in too! Thanks for the post, I’ve been so uninspired in the produce isle lately!

February 28, 2011 at 10:35 AM

Great post Marcus!!
You read my mind too :)
I have been looking for one of these.
Count us in!

Eating seasonally is not only great for the environment and supporting local farmers, but also for your health. Nature has a funny way of providing what we need each season to stay healthy. For example, watermelons are in season in the summer and they are great to combat dehydration or even heat stroke from the summer heat.

February 28, 2011 at 10:37 AM

@Alia – glad you found the post useful :) If this particular CSA isn’t convenient for you, others can be found at localharvest.org.

@Anna – that’s exactly what I’m looking forward to! The nice thing with CSAs is that you will often be exposed to new or different veggies than you may be used to. Granted, there may be some non-paleo items such as corn, but overall there will be a great variety of veggies and fruit.

February 28, 2011 at 12:02 PM

I’ll be dropping off my order at NG tonight so I can deliver applications and checks tonight after class if you bring them!

For those who don’t have their checkbooks today, I will be dropping mine off later this week so you can catch a 2nd run.
- Marcus

February 28, 2011 at 1:43 PM

Alternative answers to the question:
California “Sweetcheeks” Association
Compulsive Squaters Annonymous
Clean Snatch of America

CrossFit Intrepid » CSA Review
March 14, 2011 at 6:02 AM

[...] this month I posted about the topic of CSAs and last week our first boxes came in. For those of you who didn’t participate, here’s [...]