Community Supported Agriculture

I think organic food is a good idea although I've never been fanatical about it.  For several years I was a member of an organic food co-operative here in the Houston area.  For those unfamiliar with food co-op's, they work like this.  The co-op takes all the money the members are spending for this week and buys as much food as it can, usually from local farmers.  The food is then separated out into shares so everyone gets some of what was bought.  It gets a little murky in practice since most co-ops don't have the money up front so they are betting on how many shares will be ordered.  And the co-op I belonged to, Rawfully Organic, also has lots of extras that you can buy when you picked up your share.  The food was wonderful and the diversity was high.  What is in the shares depends on what is available from local farmers often augmented by what other organic food is available.  The lettuce, oranges and peppers were clearly locally grown while the bananas, pineapples and mangos clearly weren't.  We almost never bought a full share because it is more food than Ron and I could eat in a week.  We bought a 1/2 share every other week or so and gave whatever we weren't going to eat to the goats.  The big downside for me was the long drive to the pick-up location and bad parking when I got there.  Rawfully Organic currently has three inconvenient pick-up locations.

I have just recently tried a different approach to buying my organic fresh produce.  We joined Home Sweet Farm, a CSA located in the Brenham, TX area.  Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA, is a concept that shortens the distance between consumers and farmers.  It's buying your fresh produce at the farm stand rather than at the grocery store.  Most CSA's sell shares of what they produce so as a paid up member, you get 1/100th of the output produced on the farm (assuming 100 shares have been sold).  All the shares are paid for at the beginning of the season and you get your share of whatever the farmer produces.  You take on part of the farming risk as a fair exchange for your part of the bounty the farm produces.  We bought a share of the cool season that ran from October 2013 through January 2014 and really enjoyed it.  There are lots more pick-up locations which I appreciated.  We also were able to buy grass-fed beef, pasture raised chickens, organic cheese and eggs in addition to our share of farm produce.  We have already paid for our share of the upcoming warm season.  It works out to $34 per week but we always get more than $34 worth of food.  If you are interested, please check out Home Sweet Farm's website.  It's a great way to get good fresh organic produce and help keep our local farmers going strong.