CSA... say whaaa?
After another excruciating haul to the grocery store last week... picture this, me, a 5'3" tiny woman hauling back over 30 pounds of fruit, veggies, snacks, and dinners to our 4th floor apartment from the local Safeway about .5 mile away (no one told me when i moved to the "big" city, I would have to haul my own groceries!!) It was like 1000000 degrees (not really, but I am definitely going for drama here; let's say it was actually like 90 degree F) and I am completely drenched in my own sweat. I walk into my apartment, drop the 5 bags on the ground and continue to grumble for half an hour about how miserable I am until, I finally and literally cool down (feel free to laugh as much as you want right now, because this such a silly thing to be upset about).
Then unpacking all my heavy veggies and fruit, I see that most of them have been grown in Canada, Mexico, or across the county in California. Which is totally fine, I mean I am not one to complain about getting a deliciously ripe mango in the middle of summer, but one thing I haven't had the opportunity to do as much this season is go to my local farmers market and get produce that have been grown in a 50-150 mile radius of DC. With my and Chris's work schedules as well as the trips we've taken, finding a market on Saturdays just hasn't been an option.
But why even buy local? I mean, Chris and I are INCREDIBLY lucky to live in a part of DC that has at least 5, if not more, grocery stores in walking distance to our apartment (cue my pack mule mentality right now) pumped full of delicious fruits and veggies from all over the world. The ease of finding tropical fruit like pineapples and mangos is steps from our apartment. That being said, buying local is much better than buying for convenience. Michigan State University wrote a wonderful piece on why buying produce local is the best thing to do. Local food supports the local economy, allows you to put a face to the farmer who worked tirelessly to grow these delicious strawberries, it allows you to buy foods that are actually in season, which in turn makes them much more flavorful. Buying local also has tons more nutrients (the time it takes to get from farm to table is a fraction compared to what we buy in the grocery store —which is less time for these nutrients to begin to break down), it continues to serve the environment by producing green spaces that will exchange carbon for oxygen, and lastly its actually safer. There are less points in production for your fruits and veggies to be mishandled and end up with listeria or salmonella because at some point in the processing chain someone didn't wash their hands.
I get it though... I just said that I didn't even have time to got to the farmers market, why the heck am I preaching that you should?? We're busy! farmer's market season is one of the busiest season of the year!! Which is why after a lengthy opening to this blog post, I wanted to give you other options to help support local and get the freshness we all crave.
WHAT THE HECK IS A CSA???!! CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. This program is where you support a local farmer at the beginning of the season by paying x amount in dues and in return, weekly/bi-weekly you get a box of goodies from their farm. This is one of the most affordable ways to buy organically and Consumer Reports states that you will definitely save money in the long run than buying your produce at a store.
There are other programs too, like Hungry Harvest, that curate boxes of fruit and veggies weekly/biweekly and have them directly delivered to your door. The awesome thing about Hungry Harvest is that give you the produce a grocery store would reject due to their size, shape, and color; which in turn decreases food waste (did you know we waste up to 40% of our food in this country EVERY YEAR!!!) and they also promote ending hunger by hosting tables at SNAP markets. Unfortunately, Hungry Harvest is not in every area of the USA, mostly in urban areas. But if you want to give them a go, feel free to use the code: KATAJOYCIOFFI when you check out for $5 off your first order!!
These are just some more ideas to help live a more joyful and conscious life. Let me know if you have found any other programs or have any other ideas of how to support local farmers; I would love to continue updating these pieces in the future!
Until then, #liveJOYful