Eat healthy for less

CSA, generally speaking, is the practice of focusing on the production of high-quality foods using ecological, organic or biodynamic farming methods.

Organic produce is expensive, but you can still eat healthy, and save money if you go to some of the local farms or sign up for a Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) group in your area. CSAs are basically partnerships between farms and communities, where farms deliver produce directly to the communities. It’s cheaper than stores because farmers forego the middleman, and it’s just as healthy, as the produce typically is organic.

CSA, generally speaking, is the practice of focusing on the production of high-quality foods using ecological, organic or biodynamic farming methods. This kind of farming operates with a much greater than usual degree of involvement by consumers and other stakeholders — resulting in a stronger than usual consumer-producer relationship. The core design includes developing a cohesive consumer group that is willing to fund a whole season’s budget in order to get quality foods.

The way these groups work is that the community collects a membership fee — typically between $300 and $600, more if it is a business — which serves as prepayment for the food. Fresh produce is delivered weekly during the summer and fall seasons.

Community-supported agriculture is a relatively new socio-economic model of food production, sales and distribution aimed at both increasing the quality of food and the quality of care given to the land, plants and animals — while substantially reducing potential food losses and financial risks for the producers. It also is a method for small-scale, commercial farmers and gardeners to create a smaller, more successfulclosed market.

CSA usually focuses on a system of weekly delivery or pick-up of vegetables, but some groups also have flowers, fruits, herbs and even milk or meat products.

To find a CSA in your area, visit www.LocalHarvest.org.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 25, Number 3, June/July 2006.

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