Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is an avenue for consumers to buy local, seasonal produce directly from farms in their community. The Great Basin Basket Farm Share is supported by a collection of farmers in Churchill County, Nevada. The Fallon Food Hub manages the basket program – aggregating produce from a variety of sources then sorting the produce items into individual boxes for distribution.
Local consumers buy a share into the farm – they support this year’s crop with money up front for a membership, and in exchange, each week during the growing season, they will receive a box of local, fresh, and seasonal produce directly from the farm.
Why join a Farm Share?
As told by Matt & Betsy at diyNatural.com
I mean REALLY fresh! Our farmers would often talk about pulling the food from the ground that same day. (It sometimes had the dirt or mud still caked on to prove it.) Farm Share produce doesn’t get shipped in cross-country delivery trucks or sit on store shelves before getting to you. As a result, the produce lasts much longer than store-bought.
The cost of fresh locally grown produce is much cheaper when you’re buying directly from the farmer. Purchasing the same locally grown produce at the grocery store means you pay increased prices since the store has to make a profit. With a Farm Share, the middleman has been eliminated, keeping your costs down.
Supporting local farms
If we fail to support our local farmers, we end up with food from large, profit-driven farms where practices are questionable at best. Keeping small farms in business supports the local economy, and offers good farmers the opportunity to grow food the way WE like it.
Belonging to a Farm Share gets you closer to your food and the people who grow it. You hear us say this all the time . . . get as close to your food source as possible. Farm Shares offer the chance to know exactly where your food is coming from, meet the people growing it, and build a relationship with them. If you have questions about your food you can simply ask the farmer – “Do you use any chemicals?” “How do I cook (insert name of strange vegetable here)?” or “Do you have a good recipe for _____?” We have learned so much about food from our Farm Share farmers!
Many Farm Shares even offer “farm days” where members visit, work the farm, taste produce, and see the inner-workings of the farm. Now that’s what I call getting close to your food!
Learn to eat seasonally
Receiving your share each week helps you learn which foods grow during different times of the year. Do you know when zucchini is in season, or when a cantaloupe ripens? You won’t see watermelon in your Farm Share first thing in the spring. Farm Shares help you learn to look forward to the foods as they are harvested naturally, in their own time. Modern supermarkets have trained us to shop without seasons. We lose the healthy flow of seasons in our diets; and that flow is important to health and well-being. Different foods are high in different nutrients our bodies need during each season.
Learn new kitchen skills
The first year we belonged to a Farm Share we didn’t take it very seriously. We allowed some food to go bad, turned our noses up at other items, and failed to appreciate the bounty we were given. (I mostly looked forward to the fruit and homemade rolls the farmer gave us.) However, the second year we challenged ourselves to get serious about it and have ZERO waste in our Farm Share. If we couldn’t eat things before they started to go bad, we made sure to “put it up” by freezing or canning. Our skills in the kitchen improved as we incorporated more fresh produce into our diets. Our recipe repertoire grew, Matt taught himself to pressure can, my experimentation with freezing foods got a little out of control, and we learned how to cook things we never knew existed.
Save money on dining out
Trust me, when you have a refrigerator full of fresh produce each week, you think about the money already spent and decide staying home is probably your best choice. Each week I planned a menu around the produce that sat waiting in the fridge, and ate ONLY meals that could help us use up the fresh Farm Share food. We saved so much money when we committed to eating the food we already had; and it was much healthier to boot.
It takes the pressure off
If you don’t have the space, time, or knowledge it takes to grow your own food, purchasing a farm share allows you to rely on a farmer who DOES have all these things. Maybe you are only growing a few things in a small garden this year, or live in an apartment where growing is near impossible. A farm share can supplement produce you grow yourself, or completely replace it. We had years when entire plant crops in our garden were near wiped out – Farm Share produce to the rescue!
Since your money is supporting their growing efforts, Farm Share farmers are very willing to listen and offer perks to their shareholders. Sometimes you can make suggestions for food you’d like to see available. Some farms have extra produce available for canning that you can order ahead of time (tomatoes!). Our past farmers would supply us with mouthwatering recipes to try each week, which helps with the panicked “I have no clue how to cook this kohlrabi” feeling.
Your family farmer
Maybe you’ve heard enough about Farm Shares, but I want you to consider one last thing.
We spend a lot of time searching for professionals we can trust with our health – doctors, dentists, fitness experts, etc. Food is one of the most important ingredients for achieving good health, so we need to place importance on finding the best farmers and the best local food available to us.
Joining a Farm Share is a great way to develop a lasting relationship with a local farmer who is growing your food properly!