Friday, July 10, 2009

Local Love

{photo via stock.xchg, as I don't have any farm photos of my own}

We {finally} did it—we joined a CSA. I’ve been trying to support local farmers via the farmers’ markets and produce stands, but the bulk of my shopping still happens at Publix. I’m a Publix girl all the way, but when it comes to fresh fruits and veg, the selection is less than inspiring. It can also be expensive, mainly because more than half of the stuff there isn’t even grown in America, let alone in Alabama. Even the produce at the stand isn’t all locally grown. Frustrating, since I know there are beautiful farms all around Birmingham, even one right in the middle of the city.

An explanation of CSAs, from the USDA site:
Community Supported Agriculture consists of a community of individuals who pledge support to a farm operation so that the farmland becomes, either legally or spiritually, the community's farm, with the growers and consumers providing mutual support and sharing the risks and benefits of food production. Typically, members or “share-holders” of the farm or garden pledge in advance to cover the anticipated costs of the farm operation and farmer's salary. In return, they receive shares in the farm's bounty throughout the growing season, as well as satisfaction gained from reconnecting to the land and participating directly in food production.

Here’s a link to our CSA. I’m thrilled to finally be a part of one. There are manifold benefits to eating locally harvested food:
it’s environmentally friendly, since you’re lessening your dependency the mass amounts of fuel used to ship things halfway across the country (or world). It’s healthy, because you’re getting boxes filled with farm-fresh produce, eggs, milk, cheeses, and meats, many of which are organic or at the very least grown and raised as naturally as possible. It’s a great way to stimulate and support your local economy. American farmers, dare I say, offer a huge solution to the rising obesity crisis we face as a nation. By supporting these farmers, we can guarantee costs stay lower, so fruits and veggies can be more prominent in the diets of Americans.

I found ours by googling "Birmingham, AL CSA." I hope you'll look around to see what's out there in your community...I bet you'll find something, too.

P.S. While we're on the subject, can anyone spare $400 for Jason and me to attend this dinner, put on by the oh-so-gorgeous and swoon-worthy Outstanding in the Field? Anyone?

{photo via}

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