We are members of, and Alexa is one of the co-chairs of, Tuv Ha’aretz Forest Hills, a community supported agriculture (CSA) program through Golden Earthworm, an 80 acre certified organic farm located in Jamesport, Long Island (click here to see exact farm location). Thanks in part to Tuv Ha’aretz, every Tuesday from early June through late November a bounty of freshly picked fruit and veggies are waiting for us at our pick-up location, The Forest Hills Jewish Center.
Community supported agriculture is the remedy to our modern industrialized food chain. When you join a CSA, you invest in a local farm, and that farm pays you dividends in fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables, with a bonus warm feeling that comes from knowing you’re directly supporting sustainable farming practices, and taking your money out of the hands of industrial agriculture, shipping companies, and large chain supermarkets.
There are CSA programs all across the country. To find a CSA near you, check here, or visit localharvest.org and use their nifty tool. Note that while many CSAs will only accept members at the start of the season, you should contact your local CSA to find out their policies.
Joining a CSA has many benefits to both your health and your environment, including:
- When your food travels a shorter distance to get to you, it requires less fossil fuel. Less fossil fuel = less greenhouse gasses = happier planet.
- Eating locally means that you are only eating produce that is in season. This is how humans have always lived up until the last hundred or so years since the advent of modern distribution and refrigeration. We’re just not made to eat kiwis year round.
- You are forced to try new things. Instead of going to the supermarket to buy your produce, you eat whatever your farmer decides to grow. Whatever the farmer delivers, you have to decide how to prepare it. This is where the fun starts! It’s like Chopped, but in your kitchen and no one loses.
- Freshly picked produce retains more nutrients than food that has traveled for days or weeks to reach you. Yay for hella antioxidants!
- You become more directly connected with the source of your food. In many cases, CSA farms invite their members to visit. You can speak with farmers about their methods of food production, and just say “Thank You!”
To learn more about CSAs click here.
Our CSA is affiliated with Hazon, and their Tuv Ha’Aretz CSA program. Hazon is a Jewish organization dedicated to creating healthier and more sustainable communities–as a step towards a healthier and more sustainable world for all.
To learn more about Golden Earthworm, click here.
And remember: A nicely stocked pantry will help you get the most out of your produce.