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By Erika Parker Price
What’s for dinner tonight? Do you ever wish that there was a ready supply of fresh organic food just waiting for you when you get home? If so, then a CSA (Community Sponsored Agriculture) may be the answer you’ve been looking for. This growing trend helps you lower your food footprint, go eco and reduce emissions by connecting you with a local farmer.
A CSA works by having people sign up for a share of a farmer’s yearly production. This way the farmer is assured to have customers for the season and the consumer is given an easy way to go eco on the dinner table with a lower food footprint. A typical share is a weekly box of fresh produce, but you may also find CSAs that specialize in meat, dairy, or other staples.
The most important way a CSA helps you lower your food footprint is by shifting your food purchases and consumptions from food that is grown more than 1,500 miles away to food that is grown seasonally and locally. While it may be possible to buy carrots and celery all year long at the local grocer, a CSA can introduce you to food that can actually be grown in your area in each season. They also frequently provide tips and recipes for the foods you may be less familiar with. CSAs vary in how they are administered, but typically the food will be available weekly and delivered either to your home or to a local drop site (sometimes a workplace, school, or local business). When the CSA delivers directly to your home or workplace, it helps reduce emissions by saving each consumer from driving to the store.
Another way buying locally will reduce emissions and your food footprint is by avoiding the need for food to be transported across the country, or across the world. Our grocery stores make it so convenient to purchase fruits and vegetables any time of year that most of us are out of touch with growing seasons for fruits and vegetables. We also sacrifice both taste and nutritious content when we buy produce that was picked from the vine before it ripened and then shipped over thousands of miles. Your CSA produce goes directly from the ground to your door, packing in a punch of flavor and vitamins along the way.
Buying from a CSA provides similar foods to what you would find at a farmer’s market, but allows for more consistency for both the farmer and the consumer. To go eco and find a CSA in your area, visitSustainableTable, a website dedicated to providing education and resources on sustainable food. Signing up for a CSA will not only lower your food footprint and reduce emissions, it will also be a convenient way to provide delicious, organic food for your family.
For more go eco ideas, visit Going Green Todayfor a 90-day customized action plan that can help you protect your health, save money, and reduce your impact on the Earth.