Back in the 70's I graduated from college in Boston, drove across the good ole USA, and settled in northern California. Riding shotgun was my friend, Robyn Van En, who needed to visit her parents on the West Coast. During our travels through the Midwest farm belt, we had many discussions about the economic struggles of these vitally important farmers and the need for healthy, locally-grown food.
Twelve years later, in 1986, Community Supported Agriculture was up and running, with Robyn Van En as one of its founders. While working on a farm back in Massachusetts, the central tenet of the CSA movement was set in place by her: Grow what is good and wholesome and share it with your neighboring supporters.
Community Supported Agriculture's impact has been profound. Tens of thousands of families have joined CSAs. LocalHarvest has the most comprehensive directory of CSA farms, with over 4,000 listed in their directory.
Today the average distance food travels to a supermarket is 1300 miles. As an alternative, your box of very fresh local food can be delivered to you by a local CSA farmer. Go this route and you will be introduced to some new and unique foods that reflect your locale and the farmers who produce it.
Enter the search term 'csa' + 'your town' into your favorite search engine and a list of organizations will come up. There you'll find a farmer to get your weekly delivery of fresh produce, be exposed to delicious new vegetables, and learn new ways to cook them. Like me, you'll meet some great people along the way.
If you would like to know more about Robyn Van En and the origins of the CSA movement, check out the Mother Earth News article 'Robyn Van En: The First Lady of Community Supported Agriculture'.