Why NOW is the Time to Join Your Local CSA
After taking my puppy out yesterday at 5AM, I checked the NY Times Daily Briefing, & came across this disturbing article regarding the breakdown of our food supply due to COVID-19, & how thousands of pigs & cattle are being killed needlessly: with nowhere to go. With many slaughterhouses shut down, farmers must shoot, gas, or find other ways to euthanize their own creatures: a job they were never meant to do. And then an even bigger problem: what do you do with those dead carcasses when they can’t go to the slaughterhouse? Based on all this news, I figured it was time to write about “Why Now May be the Perfect Time to Join Your Local CSA.“
“We cannot be free if our food and its sources are controlled by someone else…”
What is a CSA?
CSA = Community Supported Agriculture
With a CSA, you’re essentially buying “shares” of the farm’s seasonal crop ~ in exchange for which you receive a set amount of shipments, which are either delivered to you or are available for pick-up at the farm or other set locations. This not only means less trips to the grocery store (which these days is a real E-V-E-N-T), but it also puts you closer in touch with your local farms & farmers; it is quite literally: farm-to-table. Plus, 100% of the proceeds go directly to the farmer ~ so you’re not paying for the marketing & such that goes into typical grocery store pricing.
And these days, more family farms are including poultry & beef as share options, which, given the current breakdown in our food supply chain (due in part to restaurant & hotel closures): may be more valuable than ever. This NY Times article explains how there are 800 federally-inspected slaughterhouses in the U.S. ~ but with regards to cattle, just 50 of those slaughterhouses account for 98% of all slaughtering & processing, which in times like this, is rather frightening. If even a few of these slaughterhouses go down, it creates massive bottlenecks & situations like the one described above: with thousands of pigs & cattle slaughtered for naught.
By joining a local CSA, in a way you’re taking back some of your food sovereignty. Akin to growing your own herb garden or your own fruits & veggies: your family won’t suddenly be in dire straits if we face a situation like this again, from a pandemic or otherwise.
Where to Find CSA’s Near You
I’m a West Coast girl ~ so below are a list of some of the best CSA options in several major cities in the West. If possible & people are interested, I may expand this list to include central & eastern states as well.
- Los Angeles Area CSA: Farm Fresh to You (food delivered right to your door); Edible Gardens LA (partners with several local farms & offers contact-less home delivery of fresh produce).
- San Diego Area CSA: Be Wise Ranch (several pick-up locations around San Diego); JR Organics Farm & CSA (100% certified organic produced delivered to San Diego & Los Angeles).
- San Francisco & Silicon Valley Area CSA’s: Greenhearts Family Farm (delivers to San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland, & Silicon Valley); Fresh Catch Seafood Delivery (a CSF: Community-Supported-Fishery delivering throughout San Francisco & Marin County); Golden Gate Organics (HUGE delivery area in San Francisco, Marin, San Jose & beyond).
- Portland, Oregon Area CSA’s: Zenger Farm CSA (pick-up in SE Portland); Lil Starts (pick-ups in NE & SE Portland); 47th Avenue Farm (pick-ups available in SE Portland & Lake Oswego; Hood River Organics (they deliver to Portland, Hood River, the Dalles, & White Salmon). There are MANY more CSA’s in Portland ~ these are just a few.
- Bend, Oregon CSA: Fields Farm (located a few miles from downtown Bend); Agricultural Connections (wholesaler who works directly with several Central Oregon farms, with pick-up or delivery available in Bend).
WASHINGTON STATE CSA’s
- Seattle Area CSA’s: Root Connection CSA (pick-up at their farm in Redmond, WA); Oxbow Farm & Conservation Center (two pick-up locations in Seattle).
- Tacoma Area CSA: Wild Hare Organic Farm (pick-up at their farm or at local farmer’s market); Early Bird Farm (pick-up on the farm; they also deliver to Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood).
- Boise Area CSA’s: Global Gardens CSA (18-week growing season with several drive-thru pick-up locations in Boise); Ohana No-Till Family Farm CSA (Saturday pick-up at the Boise Farmer’s Market).
- Phoenix & Scottsdale Area CSA: Maya’s Farm CSA (4 pick-up locations in Phoenix).
- Denver Area CSA: Sprout City Farms (they have three farms in & around Denver, & offer produce, eggs, mushrooms, bread, & even MEAT shares!!); Micro Farms Colorado (22-week growing season & 2 pick-up locations in Arvada & Lakewood); Ahava Farm (bio-dynamic farm with deliveries available to Denver & Colorado Springs).
- Boulder, Colorado CSA’s: Dharma’s Garden (North Boulder farm offering flexible CSA memberships of all kinds); 63rd Street Farm (Boulder farm offering produce, eggs, chicken, turkey, pork, & even LAMB shares ~ plus, weekly pick-up is at their farm in the form of a “Meet Your Farmer” mixer!); Red Wagon Farm (5 pick-up locations in Boulder).
Why NOW is the Time to Join Your Local CSA
As our supply chain will undoubtedly continue to face difficulties until the pandemic ceases, I hope you’ll consider supporting local farms in your area by joining a CSA. If you do, please let me know of your experience in the comment section below!
And for a fantastic read on what it’s like to work a family farm & eat in tune with the seasons, pick up Barbara Kingsolver’s wonderful book: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. I’ve read it twice, & it describes so eloquently the simply beauty & hard work involved in creating your own food.