A lot of people call to ask us, “How do we get the box of cheap food?” They’ve heard that they can get an incredible amount of certified organic, locally grown food for dirt cheap. And they can. But they are missing the point.
A CSA is much more than a way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture.
I’d like to break it down here and refine the definition of a CSA. I’d like to say that it stands for Community, Supported, and Agriculture.
The first word in the acronym is Community. We are part of a community; most of us are part of several communities. Just to name a few, Robin and I are part of a parenting community; a farming community; and a neighorhood community. We gladly welcome anyone to join our Suzie’s Farm and Sun Grown Organic communities. We share among our community. We recommend and ask for recommendations. We listen with heart and act accordingly. We try to be generous, knowing that an open hand gives and receives more easily than a clenched fist. We spread the wealth around by eating with our chef partners, by shopping our farmers friends at the markets, and by communicating to our friends about our friends. By being part of that community, we offer support and are supported in return.
It’s a profound thing to belong to a CSA – to choose a community, to belong and to invest yourself with them and for them. What we are supporting is agriculture. Food. On your plate, in your home, for your family.
You have to eat to survive. You can’t live without it. It is usually at the center of most celebrations. And you allow us into your home to participate in one of the most intimate and often, dismissed rituals in your life; the action of sustaining your body so that your soul can go out and do the incredible work it needs to do on this planet.
Yes, we are able to deliver a weekly or bi-weekly box of certified organic, personally crafted food to a host site somewhat near your home or work. But it’s so much more than that.
By joining us you have said, “I want to know you. I want to meet you. I want to see the sunflowers rising over the tomatoes. I want to shake a bean pod in wonder. I’ll take a risk with you. I know it won’t be perfect. I know this is part of an experience we are collectively having and allowing to exist.”
We try to support you to, by feeding you what we have chosen carefully. Preciously. Knowing that if it is good enough for us, we hope it will be good enough for you.
You actively participate in community. You walk or ride with your family to a host site. Imagine that! A perfect stranger is allowing this transaction to transpire on their property because they support it. And you. And us. Your host site might be your child’s school. Or your business. Each thread of your life joining and embroidering your soul.
We ask that you consider all of the CSAs out there, no matter which you ultimately choose.
We spray minimally. There will be hitchhikers on your food. Your leafy items may have holes. There will be dirt on your root crops. Things are mis-shapen. Your products may not last as long because they were grown for taste not travel. By the time we harvest your food, it is ripe and ready to go. Mangia! It’s not meant to last a week!
We acknowledge our humanness. We are not a gigantic corporation. It’s me and Robin, in a 15-year marriage, with two 3 year-olds. Forty-five people AND our siblings and Robin’s Dad depend on us for their income. We are still figuring things out; learning as we go along. Our road is bumpy. We are grateful for your support while we find our way. You acknowledge this when you join us. You are ultimately saying, “It is not an easy thing to grow food in this day and age in San Diego County. Sure, I could buy my stuff from a major grocery store, but I am going to take a chance. I am going to help these people.I am going to enrich my community.” In doing so, you know exactly how your efforts sustain us – all of us.
The Agriculture piece is just the widget.
Understand that every time you make a choice, you are participating in the Community Supported part.
Fill in Agriculture with Education. Or The Eldery. Or Baseball. Whatever fulfills you. Whatever makes you feel like your efforts make a difference.
And then, Make A Difference.