It’s CSA Day today, a day to celebrate the wonderful opportunity to eat farm fresh and local. CSA stands for community supported agriculture, which basically means that you get a share of the garden and have the chance to try many new vegetables that are grown near you! Farming is a hard enough job as it is, and unfortunately natural disasters can happen. I learned first hand how much damage root maggots can do to a cabbage crop last year, and it is devastating to see all of your hard work lost. With a CSA, both the grower and the consumer take in the risks and rewards that accompany the season. This means a safety net for farmers, knowing how much to grow before hand and also having customers throughout hard times helps to ensure their sales. For the consumer, it means knowing you are getting the best ingredients possible and reaping the rewards when there is a bumper crop producing above and beyond the normal role. It’s important to know that the person growing your food has your best interests at heart, and is also available if you ever have concerns about what goes into that food; whether it is the type of fertilizer used to give the soil a boost or what means are taken against pests, you have a right to be informed. It all comes together full circle because you and your family need to eat and farmers need you to maintain their livelihood, creating this beautiful symbiotic relationship between grower and consumer.
In a time where our lives are more hectic and more dependent on technology than ever, I think it is important to find a way back to a more simple lifestyle. Stress wreaks havoc on our bodies and on our health. The craving for fresh air and the freedom felt beneath wide open skies is growing and the notion of farming is becoming more idyllic for many people. I dream of the day that I can fully immerse myself on the farm again and go back to a more wild lifestyle. I’ve lived in Edmonton for over a decade now, and although it gave me incredible opportunities and an early start to a career, I can see now that it just isn’t the right fit for me. I want to live in a world where walking distances include kilometres, not blocks, and at night the wailing you hear is from coyotes, not sirens. For some, farm life just isn’t a possibility, and realistically, farming isn’t actually simpler, it’s just a more natural setting. But either way, the local food movement is sweeping across Alberta as more and more people make the effort to shop and eat within their range.
By subscribing to a weekly delivery of vegetables, you are able to enjoy the harvest from the farm without having to do the work. I see it as a win-win situation, because I want to grow on the farm and am more than happy to share the bounty with people! Nothing even comes close to comparing to the taste of a vegetable just pulled out of the ground! I’m a big believer that a little dirt never hurt anyone and I maintain a sense that it just adds to the flavour when you pluck a carrot from its bed. People don’t realize how much time is lost from transportation to the shelves in your grocery store, preservatives have to be added to keep things from spoiling. When you get your produce locally, the whole process from farm to table generally takes less than 24 hrs. When you have access to that kind of freshness, your meals are more enticing and amateur cooks are easily transformed into culinary wizards!
Bottom line - feed your family by supporting local farmers! Sign up with a farmer near and dear to
your heart and you will be greatly rewarded. One of the things that I love most about the green industry is the sense of solidarity among producers. Farmers across Alberta are stronger together, and as much as I would love to be the top choice as a producer, I’m just happy knowing that people are becoming informed and changing the way we look at our food. The phrase “Alberta Strong” was forged in the fires that raged Fort McMurray and it has only gotten stronger in the years since, extending out not only to those affected, but also as a show of support to all great things that come from Alberta. We are unique in that sense and it makes me so proud to be a part of that!