Monday, March 16, 2009

Support Your Local (And Regional) CSA

If you can afford it, invest in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA).

A CSA gives you a share of a farm or farm cooperative's fruits, vegetables, and/or meats usually during a growing season such as June through October in the northeastern U.S. In fact, even if you feel like you cannot afford it, co-invest in a CSA with a neighbor.

Here's how it works: you send them a single payment in early Spring (say $450 for a full share, the equivalent of less than one month of bad electricity bills here during the winter:), and thereby agree to share the farm's bounty and possible risk of failure, by drought say.

They do not have to repay you in the event they lose their crop to a killer drought or flood; however, you get a weekly pile of veggies or meats from the local farm(s), plus your's and others' investment helps ensure that a local farm survives (along with other advantages, such as having a person-to-person relationship with a food grower, and not having to rely on labels and faceless companies of questionable credibility to determine whether antibiotics are used, or whether cows, chickens or Elk for that matter are grass-fed).

In case you haven't noticed, you and your family need food to survive; you do not want to have to rely on the equivalent of 3,000-mile cesar salads, or grapes from Chile (however tasty they are), for your sustenance. A bad oil-related energy crisis could easily knock out or greatly stress food production and long-distance transportation in the U.S. The supermarkets' shelves in many places would be picked clean in a matter of days.

I have invested in two CSAs, one local CSA for veggies and fruits, and another in Vermont for grass-fed meats and eggs. I have a chest-sized freezer in the basement where I plan to store a lot of the bounteous local produce and protein. I'll let you know how it goes with my CSA shares. I will also re-plant my Summer garden; it provides about 10 percent or less of my calories.

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