At the Healthy Gardening Programme the other day someone said “wholesome food and less money are the reasons why we all should be eating seasonally” and that’s a real live connection here at Blissberry Social Farm – all our food comes directly from the ground and grows naturally in season. We want to continue and extend this in a small way and at present we are looking to see how best we can do that.
One route might be through Donegal’s first Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Programme
Thinking CSAs today throughout world are about communities . . .
CSAs are frequently formed by farmers, but a number have been formed by consumers. CSAs offer opportunities for people to meet in a different way and address important community issues.
CSA is about more to do with Health . . .
Healthy soil means healthy food. When no herbicides, pesticides, or artificial fertilizers are used, ground water pollution and toxic residues on food are avoided. CSA gives consumers the chance to choose how their food is grown. Eating locally grown, freshly harvested food is the basis of a healthy diet and is recommended by health-care professionals. CSA offers the opportunity for you to reconnect with rhythms of nature by eating produce when it is in season. People who join CSAs find a meaningful way to reunite with the Earth and a community and discover a kind of spiritual nourishment which they have been missing.
CSA’s are about Ecology . . .
The Earth is a living Being and the actions of every individual have an effect on the whole. The soil is the basis of all human life and the quality of its care and health affect not only the people who eat the food today, but also those who will depend on the soil in the future. Even though less than 1% of our population is engaged in farming, the proper tending of the environment is the concern and responsibility of every individual. It is in the consumer’s interest that farmers are supported so that they can grow the highest quality, most nutritious food while preserving the highest environmental quality and soil health.
CSA’s are about gardening, families, community members and fun . . .
CSA members are interested in MORE than vegetables: they like to know they are working with growers and producers who shares their environmental and social concerns, and they are interested in their fellow shareholders. Families with children are welcome at CSA gardens. A number of CSAs host local school groups for nature study or art classes in the garden. CSAs are about strengthening a sense of community. Most CSAs have a newsletter to let people know what’s going on in the garden, share recipes, and announce things of common interest or concern and social events.
CSA’s are about learning . . .
CSAs also act as training skillnets for people who wish to learn the skills of farming and management of CSA operations. These “hands-on” trainings are called “apprenticeships.” In addition, CSA members often volunteer their time to work in the garden so that they may informally learn about horticulture or other gardening skills.
CSA’s are about the Four Seasons . . .
Seasonal celebrations are natural when you are living closer to nature. We’ve heard of social gatherings like: Planting Parties, Fruit Festivals, Potato Digging Potlucks, and Harvest Festivals. Changing your diet to eat with the seasons is something that happens naturally when a larger portion of your food begins to come from a garden. Shareholders help one another by sharing recipes and menus. Some CSAs publish recipe books and some try to encourage shareholders to pick enough food to preserve for the winter months. This allows consumers to rediscover the household arts of drying, canning, or freezing foods.