Ever heard of this Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA)?
We already discussed in our last post about the benefits of preparing fresh and organic produce for our baby’s puree. It can be a bit expensive but it we know there is no price for safety, peace of mind and nutrition that your baby and toddler will get.
So what is this CSA that we have been gushing about? This is not a new way of marketing or community sharing of produce. You know that in history civilization flourished with agriculture and since then, people from bands to commune have been sharing their produce in order to survive.
This is the same concept that is now refashioning itself in the highly-urbanized, semi-urban and rural areas. This is one way of connecting the urban-rural divide and reconnecting our roots to the farmers and to the land!
It is in same aspect with Fair Trade but in a highly localized concept- Consumers can buy produce directly from the farmers. It is seasonal though but you are sure where it came from.
Since not all of us have the luxury of time as well as the vast tract of land to plant, then farmers in CSA offers to the public “shares” and these consists mostly of the farm produce. The farmer can do a list of the vegetables/ fruits, he/she is producing on a certain season and interested consumers can enlist for subscription or membership and get his share through the seasonal produce during the harvest season.
This is one way of cutting the food mile (farmer to trader to department stores or malls before to consumer) and getting the produce directly. This arrangement is quite rewarding for the producer and to you the consumer.
How is that so? Well darling, farmers can get initial payment before planting season and the producer will have a direct relationship with the people who directly buy from them. They are not just farmers but also they are empowered to be marketing and sales agents of their produce.
As for you, the consumer you are assured foremost of the freshness. You are also given a chance to visit the farm and be involved, develop that relationship and learn more about the food you are eating. Also, bring your children (especially toddlers) on to the farm to visit – this will help them understand the value of their food and nutrition.
You know it is difficult to make children love vegetables especially bitter gourd. It is like a miracle to have these kids eat nutritious foods with the onslaught everywhere of fastfood chains and whatnots. The home is the first teacher and starting them early to appreciate veggies and fruits are the first steps to take. And studies show that kids who know where they get their food from, including being involved in gardening or harvesting of the food will make them more appreciative of nutrition.
Going back to CSA, it would be best to know your needs and wants first. Surely it is a very fantastic and ideal set-up but it is only you and your household who can decide if this is for you. First, you have to re-examine your time and schedule on making homemade meals and Baby purees. (With the aid of Baby Bullet though, you will be needing less time in preparation of this smooth and consistent baby purees), the storage and excess of the produce. You don’t want to have those fruits and veggies laid into waste right?
Can you accept the “shared risk”?
What is this “Shared risk”? Remember in farming, it is not always a sunny day. And with climactic changes, farmers now have to contend on the weather changes and variations in the seasons. As one of the “shareholders” of the farm, you are also sharing the risk.
While you and your family really love fruits and veggies, getting more than you can consume in a week is also something you have to consider. Members pay the same thing whether it is a good harvest or a bad one. Also there are times that one crop will produce more in one season while your favorite avocado or carrots for your baby’s finger foods have not thrived in that season. So better to also know how much you have to subscribe.
If you decided to give it a try, the next sensible thing to do is to choose a CSA- a cluster or a sector where you can be a part of. Ask around if there are a lot of options near you and see if you are able to meet the farmer. Wherein you will meet halfway on the arrangements such as on delivery of produce and payment options. Also ask questions, clarify on things and expectations from both ends. Ask about the renewal of “subscription of shares” and grievance mechanism. If you are dissatisfied of the shares for instance, to whom would you complain if you and the farmer cannot get into a consensus?
Be aware of the ups and downs in farming. Community supported agriculture are small-scale and organic thus, do not expect supermarket superfluous fruits. It would take time for us to manage our long time knowledge of “what is considered good”. Remember some blotches in your cucumber for distance is good, meaning there is a co-existence of insects in the farm.
Do not be afraid to ask questions. Be aware of the limitations. Or you can ask for referrals for households who already signed up in the neighborhood. If you are just alone in this, then you can check Local Organic Farmers Associations and ask for the details of its members.
Once you are a member (or if you are already a member), let us know your experience. Also, if you have excess fruit and veggies puree it and share your puree recipes too.
Let us know in the comment below or you can fill out the Contact Form.
Have a wonderful shopping day and Happy eating!