Many years ago, I read about CSA’s. Community Supported Agriculture. It’s a concept that supports small scale farms. A set number of folk sign up to the CSA, and pay a weekly fee in return for a box of fresh seasonal produce from their local farmer. Brilliant! This assures the farmer gets a fair pay for his produce, and CSA folk get access to fresh fruit and vegetables.
Our little quarter acre section produces more than what we can eat, so we agreed to start our very own FSA (Family Supported Agriculture). Our children pay a small amount every week, in return for a box of seasonal produce. This means that we get a stipend to cover whatever we need to purchase for the garden……seeds, Quash slug bait, sheep poos, organic sprays etc. It also means our children (who don’t live with us) get healthy organic produce at a fraction of the cost. A win-win situation for the both parties.
I can imagine this model befitting many families. Young adults working full time are unable to devote the hours to growing healthy produce, so older folks with a small to medium-sized garden can produce enough food to support their family. Maybe this is the answer to increasing our health and well-being in concentric family circles.
Food security is important. Living in New Zealand, I’ve seen first hand what havoc natural disasters can wreak on our towns and cities (Kaikoura and Christchurch). When roads are destroyed, trucks are unable to get food stocks to supermarkets. I’ve learned that supermarkets carry 3 days worth of food at any one time! If you can’t replenish your food going out, shelves remain empty!
The advantages of this kind of FSA system of food distribution, is that family members are assured of fresh, organic, nutrient dense food. The disadvantages are, depending on the season, FSA members are exposed to the “feast or famine” principle of supply. Some weeks in winter may see the produce box full of citrus and green leafy veg! Week after week. In Summer, some weeks are all about tomatoes, basil and courgettes!! FSA Members have to get creative with their recipes, how many dishes can you conjure up with one predominant vegetable??
So CSA or FSA, there are enormous benefits of joining an existing one, or starting your own one. Do you have a elderly neighbour who grows lots of produce? Approach them with the idea of growing for themselves and supplying excess to you. I am sure many older folk would welcome the idea! I remember living across the road from an elderly gentleman who was always knocking on our door and handing me bags of beans, plums and tomatoes!! A gardener’s joy is being able to share with others what they have grown.
Joining a CSA or FSA, means fresher, locally grown health in a box (or bags!). You have a connection to the people who grow your food, in other words, your food has a face! It’s not generic uniform produce grown miles or even countries away from where you live. Time to get connected to your food. 🤗. The global pandemic has shown people how disruption of food supplies affect us one and all. Let’s bring food security back. Grow food. Save seeds. Swap produce over the fence. Share favourite recipes.
Grow. Eat. Thrive.