Thursday, August 9, 2012

Be Green by Eating Green

Have you ever thought about being green by eating green?  You can easily do so by joining a Community Supported Agriculture Program (CSA)! 
So what exactly is a community supported agriculture program (CSA), you ask?

A CSA is an alternative, locally based socio-economic model of agriculture and food distribution that brings together local farmers and consumers.  Basically, a nearby farm offers their harvest to local consumers through a subscription that varies according to the duration and quantity wanted.  Once you are subscribed, you will be getting boxes of the freshest seasonal produce available!
CSA programs benefit our environment in so many ways from reduction in environmental waste to promoting healthier soil and land.  CSA farmers participate in eco-friendly farming by cutting out any use of pesticides on their crops, which helps to limit pollution throughout our environment.  In addition, carbon dioxide emissions are reduced by the minimal transportation needed by these farmers to get their produce from their farms to local consumers.  Their sustainable practices enhance the overall quality of our environment while also reducing their carbon footprint.

Healthy soil means a healthier you.  CSA programs benefit you because these farmers are pesticide, artificial fertilizers, and toxin free.  You have the opportunity to consume some of the freshest produce available and for a reasonable price.  Most of the time you’ll realize that you get higher quality and more produce for your money from these CSA bins than when would had you purchased your produce from a grocery store.  CSA programs also give you the freedom of choice.  You get to choose which farm you prefer to receive your produce from, which farmer you believe promotes the best sustainability methods, and whether or not the program aligns with your budget.  Depending on the farm, you’ll receive an array of produce and have the opportunity to experience fruits and vegetables according to seasons.  Sometimes you may see produce you’ve never seen or heard of, but it allows you and your family to experience something new.  And who knows, it could turn out to be your new favorite fruit or vegetable!

A farmer benefits from a CSA program as this gives him or her a secure income year round, allowing them to continually improve their farming methods and environmental practices.  They have a fair means of product sales as they sell their produce straight to consumers with no middleman required.  This also gives them the chance to be more involved in the community, meeting new people, consumers, and other farmers.

If you’re interested in participating in a CSA, these are some great places to start:

These sites allow you to search for CSA programs near you as well as what their practices may be.  They each have their individual websites where you can learn more about them and email/call them for more information about their programs and prices.  Each farm has their own growing seasons, pick up/drop off schedules, and agriculture practices. 

Don’t forget that you have the ability to visit these farms to see where it all begins and how it gets from farm to table.  It’s a wonderful experience for families to share with their children and a great way to get out of the house during these long summer days.

So by joining a CSA, not only are you going green and helping to make Plano greener, but you’re also saving money, improving your health and wellness, and most importantly, improving your quality of life and those around you.

Keep thinking green,