"The CSA is direct marketing at its most eloquent. Consumers not only buy right from the farmer, but actually invest their money, and part of themselves, in the transaction. It's their farm now. Their farmer. Their reconnection." - Douglas Gayeton

As spring is upon us, we focus this week’s Food List on the budding CSA season and ways in which communities can support their local farmers.

Weather, pests, and disease are some of the risks that farmers face each year. Our friends at Sustainable Food Trust share with us frameworks for farming together as a solution to maintaining local agricultural solidarity.

Community support is fundamental to small scale farmers. CSA explores the ways in which community supported agriculture shares risks and benefits between farmers and their subscribers.

The CSA model has proven to be an alternative approach to the supermarket model, not just for buying produce, but for seafood too. Just Food’s shares with us a farm-to-office spin on community supported agriculture.

The model of CSA extends beyond the farm, and resonates within the community. As Judith Schwartz reminds us, buying local boosts your local economy. One of our team members shares with us her story of strengthening local connections and resilience through the CSA model.

We wrap up this edition of the Food List with one farmer’s vision of the future for local food systems. And to inspire eager CSA members, GRACE shares with us a delicious spring recipe.Check out our contest to submit your own seasonally inspired recipe!

Now that we have planted the seed for community supported models, it’s your job to nourish the idea and keep it alive.

This week's terms

Collaborative Consumption

We’re seeing an economy that’s now a sharing economy. Everybody is becoming not just a consumer but also an active participant. It’s collaborative consumption. Instead of going to a hotel, you can rent somebody’s house. We’re going to see the same thing happen with our food system. You can be both a consumer and an active participant in helping sell local food to your neighbors. That will enable the movement to scale. - Benzi Ronen

Community Supported Agriculture

Buying a CSA membership means entering into a partnership with a local farm. The member buys a subscription at the beginning of the season. This cash infusion allows the farmer to pay for seed, water, equipment and labor early in the season when farm expenses are high and farm income is low. In return, the farm provides its members with a box of fresh picked seasonal produce each week. CSAs build community by reconnecting its members to the seasons and by fostering relationships between members and the people who grow their food.

Community Supported Fishery

Community Supported Fisheries (CSF) allow consumers to directly support small fishing operations. Subscribers get scheduled deliveries of fresh fish, with the contents varying each week, depending on what’s available. Fishermen, on the other hand, get a better price on small batches plus added stability when the market fluctuates. This symbiosis encourages fishermen to use sustainable methods while educating both fishermen and the community about issues in marine conservation.

Eating in Season

"Food is sensual and spiritual. It connects us with the land, the community, our bodies, the seasonal rhythms and the planet. Eating foods in season offers us a visceral connection to where we are now.

In a world where we can buy just about any produce, year round, it may seem innocent to be thrilled when the first ripe local peaches appear, or the morels or apple cider in the autumn. Yet these things ground us in place and time and help us mark the passing of one phase and celebrate the arrival of a new season." - Toseland Canon, Ethical Foods

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