Eat Something Fresh: Parents' Guide to Community Supported Agriculture

Shauna Reynolds
March 17, 2009

It's CSA season again! If you're not familiar with community supported agriculture, here's a quick rundown. CSA members purchase a share in a local farm. Throughout the growing season members receive fresh produce (and/or meat, dairy products, or eggs) from that farm. Most CSA farms are either certified organic or use organic growing practices.

Here are some reasons to consider joining a CSA:

• CSA membership can teach kids where food comes from. We can't all be lucky enough to live on a farm, but we can own a piece of one. Some CSAs offer farm tours or on-site member picnics. Even though your preschooler already knows that veggies don't grow at the grocery store, walking on the land where your food is grown will make sure she doesn't forget it.

• CSA membership can introduce children to new cuisine. We know what our kids like to eat, and it can be hard to think outside the (blue macaroni and cheese) box. With a CSA membership, you're probably going to be cooking and eating things you've never tried before -- and so will your kids. When your preschooler sees you sampling new-to-you foods, she'll be eager to do the same.

• CSA membership is healthy. You'll be less likely to rely on fast food meals when there's a big box of fresh produce in your kitchen. And I do mean fresh -- stuff that was still in the ground the day before you picked it up. Not everyone has the time or space to grow their own food, but that doesn't mean they have to settle for fruits and vegetables that have traveled across the country (or the world) before getting to their table.

• CSA membership supports local farms. By joining a CSA, members make it possible for farmers to make a living doing something that's good for the environment, our bodies, and the local economy. Who could argue with that?

Shauna is the Nashville City Editor for The Savvy Source. You can read more of her work every day at Being Savvy Nashville.

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