ACORN has been lucky this fall to have a volunteer from Saint Mary’s University (SMU) in Halifax. Melissa Dubé is from an upper level Environmental Studies class and has been contributing a couple of hours each week in the semester to helping ACORN advertise for events, update our local media list, and with post-conference work. Melissa also took the time to look into CSAs, something ACORN has been doing work to support in the Maritimes over the past several years! Here’s Melissa’s blog-post on CSA’s for Students:
CSA’s for Students
Community-supported agriculture or community-shared agriculture is a pledge to support a local producer by paying for food in advance of the growing season, when costs tend to be highest for farmers. This connects farms to a community of supporters and provides shareholders with the freshest local and sustainably produced food available. A CSA share normally includes a box of fresh local and in-season produce, however other farm products are also sometimes offered such as meat, fish, eggs or dairy. CSA’s can also be customized based on size (full or half) and scheduling (weekly or biweekly) making them a great option for any household, particularly students!
The money spent on CSA’s stays in the local economy, supporting small-scale farms in your own province. For anyone with roommates, sharing a CSA is a great opportunity. Not only are you dividing the cost of food, but it leads to the potential for more shared meals in your household and trying new recipes together, further building on the concept of community in CSA.
As an alternative to paying for a full season upfront, Halifax’s Home Grown Organic Foods (HGOF) assembles organic food boxes (local whenever possible!) in a variety of sizes and scheduling types to accommodate different needs and budgets. I purchased a onetime lifetime membership for $25 and signed up to receive home delivery of fresh organic fruits and vegetables. This is a great option for students because you can customize your food box based on your needs and budget. For a roommate and I, we shared a single delivery ($30) that came every week. This was a good amount of fresh produce and often we had enough to share with our other roommates. My favourite part of HGOF is that the food is always incredibly fresh, the variety is great and they deliver to your door. I also enjoyed learning how to cook with new ingredients. For those who could benefit from ideas, the HGOF website has a long list of recipes to help guide you!
CSA’s demonstrate the importance of eating what is available and in season in our local climate. In addition to this, the nutritional benefits of local, organic produce will nourish growing minds and bodies. Whether it’s locally produced or organically produced foods, there are benefits to each. Sign up for a CSA or an organic veggie box today to support small organic farming in your community and help guarantee a local market for food prior to its production!
A sincere thank-you to Melissa Dubé (Halifax, NS) for your contribution this semester to ACORN’s work! We really could not do the work we do without the generous support of volunteers. For more information about ACORN’s CSA work, read our CSA Trend Report, a synthesis of surveys conducted to solicit CSA/farmshare member feedback in 2010, 2011 and 2012.