Finding Your Way to Fresh and Sustainable
By Emily Gallagher
(This article originally appeared in the Greenpoint Star)
With the nice weather and trees in blossom, it’s time to get excited for the bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables!
While this is a nice thought, if you shop at the average grocery store, it’s likely the fruits and vegetables you’re getting are being shipped from another country all year round.
It kind of takes the fun out of fruits and salads in the summer, knowing that the ingredients were shipped here across thousands of miles from Central America.
Beyond going to the greenmarket on the weekend, which can be expensive, there is actually another option available to North Brooklynites.
It’s called a CSA – Community Supported Agriculture.
CSAs are community organizations that connect neighbors to specific farmers. In New York City, most CSAs connect you with Hudson Valley farmers.
This year, I have signed up for Southside CSA, in part because it is run by my friend Ryan Kuonen, who is the executive director of the North Brooklyn Angels, the mobile soup kitchen in our neighborhood.
I asked her to tell me a little bit about her CSA and why it’s important.
She said, “I could write a book on the awesomeness of my farmers! A CSA gives you the opportunity to know the family and the people who harvest your food. You know that the people who harvest the food are paid a fair wage. You know that you are investing in real, sustainable food practices and are supporting social justice for farm workers. It’s a way to support an alternate type of capitalism while really doing something good for your body and for the earth.”
A CSA requires you to pay upfront or in installments, and signs you up for whatever the farmer’s bounty is, May through Thanksgiving.
A full share means going with your food containers every week and picking up the food at the local spot (the Woods bar), and then you can hang out with your fellow members and get to know them.
You also are asked to pick up volunteer shifts to run the pick-up a few times a year.
A half share means you go every other week.
As one person, I have always been overwhelmed even by the amount of food in my half share – it’s a lot of food! And it comes down to a grocery cost of about $28 per week.
Through the years that Southside CSA has existed, it has added a number of different options that you can mix and match.
You can order vegetables, orchard share, berry share, egg share, meat share, fish share, beer share and even maple syrup!
This year, I am going to get the berry share, which will give me asparagus, blueberries, blackberries, apples and more through the harvest season.
I am also getting eggs because fresh eggs are amazing. And it will essentially cost less overall than buying them at the store, especially the blueberries – they come in buckets!
If you love food, care for your body too.
Additionally, the CSA does an annual trip to visit the farms where the food comes from. It’s a very cool experience.
Read more:Greenpoint Star
Southside CSA is just one of many local CSA’s serving North Brooklyn. Others included GWCSA, Dirty Boots Farm CSA, Local Roots, Hearty Roots Farm CSA, and Lineage Farms CSA. For more information about CSA’s, see JustFood.org.