Monday, March 19, 2012

Sustainability and Farm Shares

Lately I've spent a lot more time thinking about the health of our planet and what impact I want to have.  Now that I have moved across the country and have my own apartment, stipend and plenty of decisions to make, it is the perfect time to think about the lifestyle that I want to have now and in the future.

This past week I have been reading the book No Impact Man and briefly suspended my television hiatus to  watch the documentary Food, Inc.  No Impact Man is written by an author in NYC who did an experiment to see if he and his family could live for a year with gradually diminishing environmental impact across different categories, such as waste and transportation.  Food, Inc examines the way that Americans eat and where our food comes from, along with the potential implications of the current food system on the environment and our health.  Both of them are thought provoking and it is just the start of my research on the topic.  As a geologist I frequently here about or think about the global carbon cycle from an academic perspective, but I don't think I had stopped recently to consider my own lifestyle.

I have, however, settled on one step to take as a beginning.  As I was researching urban garden plots, reading the chapter of my book on sustainable eating, and talking to one of my peers, I stumbled upon the idea of joining a CSA program (CSA = community supported agriculture).  A CSA program provides revenue for farmers at the beginning of the season when they need it the most for planting and other costs by having consumers purchase a farm share at the very beginning of the season, typically sometime between February and May.  Then, throughout the growing season, the consumer who purchased the share receives a weekly allotment of produce directly from the farm that they support.  Not only is this a way of supporting local agriculture, most of the local farms offer organic or very close to organic produce and the carbon impact of shipping food across the country and around the world is eliminated.  In addition to vegetables, you can also find farm share programs that involve fruit, eggs, dairy, meat, or even fresh flowers.  Together my roommate and I purchased a small share from one of the farms here in Massachusetts (  From the third week of June through October we will get to pick up our shipment of fruits and veggies fresh from the farm at our local farmers market for roughly the same amount of money that we would spend on produce here in the city.  We get local, conscientiously grown an incentive to eat our fresh veggies!  I may live in the city, but I'm still a Midwestern girl at heart who loves the idea of garden fresh vegetables and eventually wants a goat and/or chickens someday.

I would encourage you to look for a CSA in your own area if you are at all interested.  They can be found across the country with a simple Google search.  Do something good for your local economy, the planet, and your own health.  If not, find another step to take to reduce your impact on the Earth and research the impact you are having on the planet.

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