Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Community Supported Agriculture is Healthy, Green and Frugal

I am so excited to report that I am now a member of the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program at Sweetwater Organic Community Farm. I can't wait to pick up my first share of produce in November!

If you are not familiar with Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), it is basically a way for farmers and consumers to share the risks and rewards of farming. As a consumer, you pay a membership fee and donate some time to the farm. In return, you get locally-grown organic produce. It's great for your health, the environment, and your budget! Click here to learn about other benefits of CSA.

If you don't live in the Tampa Bay area, click here to find a CSA near you.

Here's what membership at Sweetwater entails:
  • I purchased a half membership for $390. That means I will receive one share of farm produce every other week. A full membership costs $700 and gets you a share every week.
  • How does the cost compare to grocery stores? The cost of a share to CSA members is $16-$25 per pickup. According to Sweetwater's price comparison, the same produce would cost $35-$50 at local health food stores.
  • A share typically consists of 2 to 4 grocery bags filled with 10 to 15 different items.
  • Pick-ups are from November to May.
  • Shares are picked up at Sweetwater Farm in West Comanche in Tampa. Members can also pick up at the St Petersburg Saturday Morning Market.
  • Members are also required to volunteer at least 4 hours to the farm. I'm actually quite excited about this part, as I hope to learn something about organic gardening.
  • If your not sure if this will work for you, consider sharing the the cost of membership (and the produce) with a friend or family member. My parents are splitting the cost with me!
Shares are still available at Sweetwater last time I checked. Click here to get the application.
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