Every week, I get a box of seasonal fruits and vegetables delivered to my doorstep. The just-ripe produce is picked fresh from Los Poblanos Organics (nmorganics.com), a farm 15 minutes from my home in downtown Albuquerque, N.M. I am able to share in the bounty of my local farm through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), which allows people to invest in small farms like Los Poblanos that use sustainable methods. I can also volunteer to weed and water soil, nurture seedlings, and cultivate crops. Anyone can join. Just visit localharvest .org to learn about volunteer or internship opportunities—and to enjoy these rewards:
You eat fresher food
Small farms yield crops that are richer in flavor and nutrients than commercial farms because their produce is designed to be eaten immediately after harvest—not to survive the hazards of shipping or a long shelf life.
You support small business
CSAs cut out the middle person, so prices are fair and profit goes directly into the farmer’s pocket. Many also offer specialty items such as raw milk, goat cheese, eggs, and meat from a network of local producers.
You honor the earth
By supporting CSAs, you can decrease your impact on the planet: The smaller farms use minimal chemical pollutants and packaging and emit only a limited amount of greenhouse gas by delivering locally. In addition, food grown by CSAs is delivered within days of a harvest to a more predictable number of consumers, so it’s less likely to be wasted. Supermarkets, by contrast, discard much of their produce because it has minor imperfections (like bruising and browning), is overripe (sometimes due to the long journey to the store), or is simply not selling.
Farmer image via Shutterstock