One of my greatest memories as a kid was summers spent gardening and growing at our school farm.
A local farm, outside of the city, rented a portion of their land to the school district and students could then rent a plot for a whopping $5! They gave you the seeds, the tools, the water… you provided the work. I just remember it being so, so rewarding (and let me tell you, I cultivated one serious vegetable garden!). My mom and I often had what we called “Garden Dinners” that were strictly the veggies I had grown and I had so much excess we gave away a ton of produce too… I was very popular with the neighborhood parents! And let me also tell you, since they were fresh and pesticide- and herbicide-free, they were AMAZING!
Even if you’re a city dweller or suburbanite, have no room for a garden, no time for a garden, no desire to garden, you can still reap the benefits of wonderful fresh produce through your local CSA.
CSAs are “community supported agriculture”. In a nutshell, it’s a partnership between a farm operation and community individuals who support the growing/production of food. Members “purchase” a share of the harvest and are usually on a system of weekly delivery or pick-up of fruits and vegetables (and sometimes, dairy and meat).
If this type of commitment isn’t for you, you can also consider local farmer’s markets. By supporting local farms, you will not only be offered the freshest, organic harvests but you will be one step further in your pursuit of being eco, because your organics won’t have the carbon footprint of shipping and transportation from some foreign grown produce.
Considering the time of year it may feel strange to be thinking about next summer’s harvest (especially if you live in a northern climate, like me! — it’s SNOWING… a lot!… unseasonably early!) but believe me, many CSAs are filling up now for 2009, so don’t wait if you want to give it a try.
And if you have a lot of extra produce, feel free to invite me over for a “Garden Dinner!”