Work. School. Kids. Chores. Family responsibilities. Our lives can get pretty busy, but that shouldn’t stop us from discovering local food and farmers. Going to the farmers market isn’t the only way to access local food anymore. As local food increases in demand, a number of alternative options are available for those that may not be able to make a weekly trip to their local market. Discover them just in time for National BBQ Day.
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
CSA’s, also commonly referred to as ‘farm shares,’ can be found in almost every province across the country. When you get involved with a CSA, you are making a direct investment in a farm and helping to support local farmers in your community throughout the entire growing season.
How does it work? At the start of the growing season, you pay the CSA farmer a set fee in exchange for a share of the crop, which you receive during the growing season as a weekly box of produce. Not only do you have a share in the crop produced, but you also share in the risks associated with farming, like weather and other factors beyond the control of the farmer. You may be a little hesitant to invest in something associated with unknown risks, where you may not get as much as you initially thought, however by investing in a CSA farm you are helping farmers stay in business during weakgrowing seasons. You’re also making an investment in future generations’ food security by ensuring land is kept ecologically sound, as CSA farmers are dedicated to using the land in a way that doesn’t deplete its nutrients and value.
Each CSA is different with regards to the crops grown, size of shares, length of season, cost and how you receive your shares, so it’s important to investigate and find one that suits your needs. The majority of CSA’s grow numerous vegetables and herbs throughout the season, but there are some that offer meat and eggs as part of the share. We’ve included a list of links at the end of this post that will guide you in finding the right CSA in your area.
Local Food Delivered to Your Doorstep
Although a number of CSA’s offer delivery options, there are also small businesses that focus specifically on delivering local food to your doorstep. Connecting with local farmers in communities, these businesses do the shopping for you! Unlike CSA’s, you have more options in customizing what you receive in your delivery, so you can tailor it to your specific needs. A few links have been included at the end of the post to help you figure out which method is best for you.
CSA’s and local food delivery are great alternatives that support local communities and local farmers. Regardless, we highly encourage you make a special field trip to your farmers market at least once before pursuing alternative ways of purchasing local food to connect with your local farmers and find out where their food is coming from. Farmers are teachers and connecting with them allows each generation to learn more about agriculture, food, nature and many other valuable topics.