Eat local with Community Supported Agriculture

Like many Canadians, I buy most of my food at the grocery store. In the winter, this often means tomatoes from Mexico, asparagus from Peru and bananas from Ecuador.

A couple of generations ago, Canadians’ relationship with their food was very different; one third of the population lived on a farm in the 1930s. Today, that number is down to just two percent.

Like most Canadians, I don’t know my farmer – not yet. But this summer, I’m going to change that. How? It’s called Community Supported Agriculture or Community Shared Agriculture (CSA).

The idea is simple. Consumers purchase a “share” in a local farm. In return for supporting the growth of the farm, they receive a portion of fresh produce every week. That means high-quality, local fresh fruits and vegetables delivered to a location near you every week of the growing season. Some CSAs also offer eggs and meat.

The concept is fairly new to North America. Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner developed the idea in the 1920s, but it wasn’t until 1986 that farms in North America adopted the idea and formed the first CSAs. Now they’ve spread across the continent. There is no overarching regulatory body for CSAs in Canada, so it’s difficult to estimate the number of farms that use the model. The Ontario CSA directory lists about 80 farms.

So get to know your farmer this summer and reduce your carbon footprint by joining a CSA program near you. I certainly will!

Where does your lunch come from? Try the CEDC challenge! Nine classrooms have already completed it.



The following websites have helpful listings of CSAs: