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by Alice Warner •

community CSA farm food security local season vegetables

How does a CSA work?

April 25, 2017 Some people may have questions about how a CSA works and why you have to commit to buying vegetables for a period of time rather than deciding each week whether or not to buy a box. Why does it work this way? Supermarkets source their vegetables from all over Australia and the world, from many different farms and ship them for many hours or days to get them to you. They lose vigour, nutrients and taste as they age and dehydrate. However, this does offer consumer the convenience to buy whatever they like whenever they like. You can make that last-minute purchase to satisfy a whim for asparagus or yellow capsicum. A CSA, from a single farm, doesn’t provide this instant convenience and choice of vegetables. The farmer picks what is in season in that climate, the day before delivery and if climate or pests destroy a crop they don’t just drive to another farm and buy it from them as a supermarket could. But, good farmers plan for this. They grow a diversity of crops. Crops are strengthened against pests and disease with proper nutrition, water and growing conditions. The result is a plant of superior taste and quality. Your vegetables last longer in the fridge because they are fresher and they have a depth of flavour unlike produce from supermarket shelves. In a CSA crops are planned up to 3 months in advance (even longer for crops like garlic) and take time to grow. The farmer takes a risk seeding these crops, knowing that they won’t be ready for many weeks or months and putting energy and resources into supporting their growth during this time. Crops you receive in your box each week began as tiny seeds months before, and as ideas in a seed catalogue and spreadsheet before that. So, when you commit to a CSA season and buy your shares up front, you are ensuring the sustainability of a local farm business. You are protecting a community asset, defending local farmland from developers and providing food security for your family. Go on, sign up now, we can’t do it without you. Yours in veg, Alice