10 Reasons Why You Should Join a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
Updated: Oct 21
Imagine opening a box of vibrant, just-harvested vegetables, inhaling the earthy aroma, and knowing that you're a part of the journey from seed to table. That's what Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs are all about. In a world where food often travels vast distances before reaching our plates, CSAs help bridge the gap between farmers and consumers.
As a CSA member, you become a vital link in a local farm’s story. By investing in shares upfront, typically at the beginning of the growing season, the partnership begins. With each season, you reap the rewards in the form of a diverse seasonal bounty – a weekly box filled with fresh organic veggies, fruit, herbs, and more, all grown nearby.
In this blog post, we’ll go over 10 reasons that led me to embrace the CSA lifestyle and why you should consider joining one too.
1. Convenient Access
Juggling a busy schedule, the convenience of CSA pickups has allowed me to take less frequent trips to the store. But it's more than just the physical convenience. It's the satisfaction of knowing that your weekly bounty is just a click away, without the hassle of navigating crowded aisles. CSA has made food shopping a simplified, stress-free, and time-saving adventure. No more decision fatigue or racing against closing hours.
2. Fresh and Nutrient Dense
The direct farm-to-table connection ensures that each vegetable is harvested at its peak, delivering an unrivaled freshness that's often absent from most supermarket offerings. Supermarket produce often travels long distances and can spend days on shelf. CSA members receive their weekly box of produce that is often harvested just hours before delivery maximizing not only flavor but nutritional value.
3. Form Bonds with Local Farmers
Shareholders can often visit the farm and see exactly where their produce comes from and how it arrives to you. Engaging with the farmers who nurture the land and prepare these vegetables adds a layer of connection to my meals.
4. Rediscovering Seasonal Eating
The CSA experience has ignited an appreciation for the rhythm of nature. Each season brings a new harvest, and my meals are a reflection of the changing landscape. From asparagus in the spring, sun-ripened tomatoes in the summer, and hearty root vegetables in the fall, my kitchen has become a theatre, with each veggie taking center stage.
5. Saving the Planet
Amid global environmental concerns, CSA programs offer a chance to be a hero – one vegetable at a time. By supporting local farmers who prioritize sustainable practices, it’s a great way to contribute to a healthier planet while indulging in the pleasure of flavor-packed produce. It's an opportunity to savor the connection between Earth and food.
6. My Veggies Have Fewer Frequent Flyer Miles
CSA produce boasts significantly fewer miles logged in transit than its jet-setting grocery cousins. The distance food travels from farm to plate takes on a tangible meaning in my CSA journey. The limited distance my weekly box of produce travels contributes to a smaller carbon footprint, addressing one of the many environmental challenges we face.
7. My Budget Loves Me Back
Purchasing CSA shares may seem like a large sum of money to spend upfront. However, you’re committing to receiving a season’s worth of produce giving you access to premium fruit and vegetables with a sense of financial predictability. Planning meals around only what you receive each week, you might find yourself spending considerably less at the grocery store.
8. Food Security
CSA provides a reassuring measure of food security. By directly supporting local farms, you can contribute to a consistent supply of fresh produce, reducing reliance on intricate global supply chains that are susceptible to disruptions.
9. New Recipes
Throw dill in a salad? I didn't know that was a thing. The CSA experience has gotten me out of my comfort zone in the kitchen. Every week, I’ll receive veggies I don’t have much experience with, forcing me to improvise and explore different ingredients instead of using the same veggies all the time.
10. Improved Health
The shift from store-bought produce to freshly harvested Organic CSA vegetables has been a fascinating lesson in nourishment. Since joining a CSA, I’ve noticed effects in my energy levels, digestion, and even my skin. It also introduced me to a variety of seasonal gems, each having a unique variety of vitamins and minerals. From nutrient-packed leafy greens to antioxidant-rich berries, I became a student of nature's pharmacy.
In the end, the decision to join a CSA program depends on your personal values, lifestyle, and priorities. If you're enthusiastic about contributing to local agriculture, embracing seasonal eating, and learning more about food production, a CSA could be a fantastic way to do so.
How to Find a CSA Near You
If you’re ready to take the leap, you may be wondering where you can find a CSA you. Visiting LocalHarvest is a great place to start. Simply choose CSA using the dropdown button and type in your zip code or city, and you will receive a list of nearby options.
I used the tried-and-true method of Googling, “CSA near me.” If you live in the Chicagoland area, I highly recommend looking into Angelic Organics, who I’ve been purchasing farm shares from the past 2 seasons. Shoutout to farmer John!
Have you joined a CSA before? What other benefits would you add?