Inside one of our first produce bags from Venetucci Farms' community supported agriculture program, we received a "message from the farmer." In it, our farmer, Susan Gordon, noted that if each U.S. citizen ate just one meal per week comprised of locally and organically raised meats and produce, we'd shrink U.S. oil consumption by 1.1 million barrels a week.
She also thanked us for choosing to "eat mindfully," meaning that our choice to prepay for 20 weeks of local produce bore "huge social, economic, environmental and personal consequences."
It bore time consequences as well. On Wednesday nights, after the trip to the Colorado Farm and Art Market for pickup, we'd spend another hour or three cleaning, cutting, storing, planning and cooking. But beyond the satisfaction of helping further the local sustainable foods movement, the fun of culinary exploration kept it from feeling like too much of a chore. I fawned over beet greens, developed a love/hate relationship with turnips, and ended up online and in cookbooks constantly, trying to use certain items before they spoiled.
CSAs might not be for everyone, but given increasing national demand, they clearly appeal to many. And they're only the beginning of a creative, inclusive food trend (see cover story on p. 15) revolutionizing aspects of food cultivation in both rural and urban settings.