The Benefits of Joining a CSA - Healthy Eating with Consumer Supported Agriculture

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Overview of CSA

Consumer supported agriculture is a green way of eating and purchasing fresh produce. It is green because the distance the produce travels from farm to consumer is very small. Only fresh vegetables and fruits that are in season are available. Money spent on CSA stays in the local community. This benefits everyone.

Consumer Supported Agriculture Supports a Healthy Lifestyle

Eating fresh fruit and vegetables is an important way to improve overall health. The produce available from a local consumer supported agriculture farm has more nutrient content then produce shipped thousands of miles to get to a store. Many CSA are organic. The elimination of pesticides from the food supply is important to human health as well as important to the health of the planet.

Our bodies were designed for seasonal eating. When you join a CSA, you will learn to eat seasonally. The good thing about this is that fruits and vegetables that are in season locally are less expensive than those shipped in. Joining a CSA will save you money on produce. It will also help you learn to eat better and healthier. As part of a CSA, one will learn to put up produce when there is an overabundance and eat what cannot be stored well.

Learning to incorporate what nature provides us will keep one from becoming bored with the food at hand. CSA farms that require hands on participation further support a healthy lifestyle by providing exercise.

The Local Store vs. CSA

The local store may be more convenient unless you live in a rural area like I do. The produce that is available at my local Wal-Mart and grocery store is depressing. The selection is very limited. Populated areas have larger selections, but chances are the produce is not from local sources.

The many benefits outweigh any perceived inconvenience, as you can find a CSA in almost any location. The CSA I belong to offers produce I cannot get anywhere else. Fresh heirloom varieties of vegetables that are organically grown are delivered to me weekly. In addition to fruits and veggies, some consumer supported agriculture farms offer local free range eggs, pastured chicken and beef. These animals are not fed a diet full of antibiotics and growth hormones; instead, chickens range free and cattle are grass fed only. Some CSA farms grow gourmet mushroom varieties that are almost impossible to find elsewhere, like maitake mushrooms and oyster mushrooms.

CSA is Green

Joining a CSA is a very green thing to do. As discussed earlier, it teaches you to eat seasonally. Here are the other reasons to give joining a CSA a try:

  • The produce is fresh, usually organic and local. This is healthier than trucked in produce and it is less expensive too.

  • Money spent on a CSA membership goes directly back into the community, whereas money spent on produce trucked in from another country goes out of the country.

  • A CSA membership supports local farms. These farms are usually family farms and not large corporate entities. The family farm is something that needs to be protected.

  • Produce not available in stores can be found through CSA farms. For Foodies, this is a real treat. To eat better and healthier produce, joining a CSA is something everyone should look into.