Do you know where your food comes from?
If you’re like most people, you and your family depend on a faraway farmer to provide your sustenance. However, more and more people are going directly to the farm, by joining a CSA.
CSA is a growing—pun intended—way to connect yourself to the source of your food by eliminating the middlemen from the farm-to-table journey. With your average piece of supermarket produce traveling 1,500 miles over many days before finding its way to your shopping basket, CSA is directly linking farmers to people and bringing home-cooked closer to home.
HOW DOES A CSA WORK?
Here’s how it works: consumers purchase a share, which averages around $500, from a local farm for the spring through fall growing season. A share typically provides enough produce, usually organic, for a family of four, and changes through the seasons. The box of goodies, often harvested the day of delivery, is available for pickup during set hours at a central drop-off point each week. Newsletters, work days and farm events can further strengthen the bond between farmers and eaters.
BENEFITS FOR YOU AND YOUR FARMER
The benefit to farms is that shareholders provide them with the capital they need up front to start off the growing season, stabilizing an otherwise risky business. As any farmer will tell you, every year is different, and through CSAs, consumers and producers share both the bounty and the risk of the harvest season. Securing shares in the beginning of the season also allows farmers to concentrate on doing what they do best—growing food.
Consumers benefit from a personal relationship with their farm, receive food of the highest, freshest quality, and get introduced to new varieties and types of vegetables that can’t make the typical long trip to the grocery store. Urban children, and adults, have an opportunity to learn about how food grows and increase their awareness about the growing season, from the greens of early spring to the yellows and reds of high summer to the orange hues of fall.
The concept of CSA has its roots in Japan 30 years ago, when a group of women initiated the first farmer-to-consumer arrangement and called it teikei, which literally means partnership or cooperation. It was a way to put a face and place on the otherwise disconnected relationship between the farm and dinner table.
OSI is working to further addresses the entire system of food security.
By obtaining conservation easements on working farms, OSI is ensuring farmland for the future. It’s part of OSI’s comprehensive farmland protection efforts in the Hudson River Valley that serve to:
- protect open space amid rising development pressures;
- safeguard a local source of fresh and healthy food;
- bolster the agricultural economy;
- and maintain the rural community character.
Some of the CSA farms that OSI has helped to protect in the Hudson River Valley:
Phillies Bridge, New Paltz - one of the oldest working farms in New York State.
Roxbury Farm, Kinderhook
Huguenot Street Farm, New Paltz
Glynwood Farm, Cold Spring
Thanksgiving Farm at Stonewall Preserve, Harris