Eat Local: Sign Up For A Community Supported Agriculture Group

http://www.motherearthliving.com/Natural-Health/sign-up-community-shared-agriculture.aspx

K.LongofonoThis summer, I have been finding opportunities to add fresh herbs and veggies to my meals. In the past, I turned to the grocery store produce section and simply hoped for the best. (Recently, they have started posting “organic” signs above designated goods, which is helpful while shopping.) However, it is a relief to know that there are more beneficial options available. My local farmer's market blows away anything the supermarket has to offer with its fresh, locally-grown fruit, vegetables, herbs, and even organic meat and dairy products. Many cities have set up their own farmers markets, creating day-long events that amp up “local flavor.”

I’m a fan of the Lawrence, Kansas farmer’s market. It sets up not once, not twice, but three times a week for the convenience of shoppers. That way you can make a big trip Saturday morning to stock up your kitchen and then stop by later in the week to restock smaller purchases. The Lawrence market also features local musicians and artwork to round out the event. This creates a wonderful community setting that supports local organic farmers, the arts and the local businesses located nearby.

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Lawrence farmers market on a busy afternoon.
Photo by Lawrence Farmers' Market/Courtesy of Flickr.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/lawrencefarmersmarket/

Another way to supplement your kitchen and benefit the community is to join Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). These groups have been popping up everywhere in the past few years and are a great resource for both citizens and farmers. According to Local Harvest, these are the consumer advantages:

• Eat ultra-fresh food with all the flavor and all the benefits of vitamins.
• Get exposed to new vegetables and new ways of cooking.
• Discover that kids favor food from "their" farm—even veggies they've never been known to eat.
• Develop a relationship with the farmer who grows your food and learn more about how it's grown.

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Eggplant and squash harvested from Lawrence's CSA, Moon on the Meadow.
Photo by Lawrence Farmers' Market/Courtesy of Flickr.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/lawrencefarmersmarket/

Joining a CSA is not for everyone, which is what makes having the option of a visiting a farmer's market or your own garden so valuable. Luckily, Local Harvest offers practical information and extra tips on making the decision to join a CSA, and how to choose the right one for you.


Does your city have a farmer's market or a local CSA? I’d love to hear your thoughts!