Wednesday, April 22, 2009

What Our CSA means

CSA is a short-hand term for Community Supported Agriculture

Getting food from the farm seems so sensible, most people are surprised to learn that the community supported agriculture (CSA), as a practice is about 24 years old. One story goes that the CSA has been an agricultural practice in Europe since the 1960s, and it was brought here from Switzerland. Another version says it came here in 1984 from Japan. The first recorded USA CSAs were the Indian Line Farm in Massachusetts and the Temple/Wilton Community Farm in New Hampshire. Both started in 1986 and still thrive.

We like to think that all of us are part of a burgeoning local agriculture movement in Kitsap County. It is a good adventure, and we hope that you will join us on it whether you join our CSA or another one.

The CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) movement has become significant in the changing face of the American food industry. It may be the only way that family farms like ours survive the juggernaut of federally subsidized industrial farming, and food imported by multinational corporations from poor and unregulated countries. Supporting us supports our Kitsap economy as it supports the local food industry wherever they exist.

There are many models of CSAs. We have the single farm model, but if we want to be able to provide fresh food all year around, we may have to work with others who are in warmer climates to supply some of our food. There simply is nothing in-season during the winter around here at the 48th Latitude. We would have to put the whole garden under a building, and we are not going to do that. We are, however, using greenhouses and tunnel houses to extend the season. The is a great start. We are also perfecting (if that can that be said about farming in the elements)over-wintering techniques that work in our very wet climate.

Here's what we tell our CSA family members.

Your pledge to support our farming operation gives spiritual as well as an economic support. Together we share a connection with the Earth: healing of the Earth and ourselves. You also help us maintain bio-diversity. Industrial farmers must chose their varieties based on a long shelf life, which often means GMO seeds. Your support helps us plant and grow varieties of vegetables, some heritage types, that are chosen for the Kitsap growing season, nutrition, and, most of all, flavor.

So, in turn, your money not only buys you fresher food, you also are helping to sustain agriculture on local farmland and to preserve the environment for now and future generations. It is our intent and duty to live in harmony with nature.

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