We know it’s still the middle of winter, but with all the mild weather we’ve been having lately, spring is on the mind. And with spring around the corner (it officially began on March 20th, in 2017!), thoughts of local produce are making our mouths water. It’s the perfect time of year to equip your future self with an abundance of fresh, local produce. How? By signing up for a CSA!
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
CSA farms are unique in that participating consumers are connected directly to the farmer who produces the food. For a pre-determined fee that is paid directly to the farmer at the start of the growing season, you acquire a share of the vegetables and goods they produce. Basically, for supporting a local producer, you receive the freshest veggies virtually the day they are picked to use in your kitchen only a short distance away. You can read more about CSA farms on the CSA Manitoba website. Consumers also share risk with the farmer. In any given year, one crop or another may do better or, sometimes, less well than in other years. The customer gets what the land provides that week, and shares both the benefits and the risks of their relationship with the farmer. Some CSA producers offer volunteer opportunities for customers who want to participate actively in the process of growing and harvesting food.
For a more comprehensive guide, you can check out the 2016 Manitoba’s Local Produce Guide put together by the Province of Manitoba. It includes helpful tips, maps, and contact information for local producers around the province. For information on a wider range of food issues — from growing your own to healthy eating to food security in the North — visit the Food Matters Manitoba web site. Do you want to buy local but find that it’s straining your budget? West Broadway Community Organization has some resources to help you get started!
Want to keep thinking about this? We’ve written quite a few blogs on local food!