LocalHarvest Newsletter
February 15, 2007

Hello again, and welcome back to the LocalHarvest.org newsletter. This month we are exploring how and why the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) model is evolving. New variations on the theme are being created all across the country. So what does "CSA" mean these days? Are there limits beyond which the concept can not meaningfully stretch?

Regardless of the form it takes, one thing is certain: a growing number of people are placing value on forming direct relationships with farmers. Though CSA is fundamentally about a relationship between community members and a particular farm, establishing that relationship through LocalHarvest makes a lot of sense. Last year, thousands of people found a local CSA with the help of the LocalHarvest.org national directory.

Over 400 of these people went on to purchase their CSA share through our on-line catalog. We are hoping to double that number this year. On-line customers benefit from the convenience of being able to use their credit card to make the purchase. Moreover, we are able to offer them a level of protection in the unlikely event that things go badly and a refund is required. Last but not least, going through LocalHarvest helps support the site! To find CSAs in your area, go to www.localharvest.org, click on the CSA radio button on our search engine, and enter your zip code to start your search.

From the LocalHarvest Catalog:

A good way to get your blood moving in the middle of winter is to start thinking of new seeds for spring. We have hundreds of types of seeds from which to choose.

Let this talk of spring not shortchange the knitting/crocheting season! There is still plenty of time to start a new project before the sun grows too warm. If you haven't looked at our remarkable selection of handmade yarns lately, do!

Mid-winter have you craving sweet slices of sunshine? A few of our farmers specialize in bits of tropical heaven - passionfruit, guavas, avocados, Meyer lemons, dates, blood oranges, grapefruit and more! Who can resist?

Found your CSA for 2007 yet? Look through our CSA search engine to find what's being offered by farms in your area

The CSA (R)Evolution

A decade ago, the definition of Community Supported Agriculture was fairly straightforward, as there were only two versions in practice. In its purest state, a CSA was a farm that was owned by a group of community members, each of whom had purchased a share of the business. Together they hired a farmer who raised crops which were divided amongst the shareholders. If crops were bountiful, everyone ate especially well. The risk of crop failure was shared as well, so the farmer was paid the same in good years and in lean ones.

Few such projects have taken root in this country, though those that have are known for the passion of their members. Much more common is the type of CSA wherein a farmer offers a given number of shares to a community, typically in the spring when the farm's cash flow needs are the highest. Members purchase a share up front, and in exchange receive a box of vegetables each week throughout the growing season. People who have joined CSAs often speak of the satisfaction they get from being "forced" to eat both seasonally and more widely than they have been accustomed to doing. (Read on...)

Nancy's Nutrition Corner: The Wonders of Walnuts

This month we introduce a new feature to the LocalHarvest newsletter, "Nancy's Nutrition Corner." Nancy Silva is a licensed naturopath with a penchant for good food. Her column will discuss the nutritional aspects of some of the foods available through LocalHarvest, starting this month with walnuts. (Read on...)

As always, thanks for your interest in and support of LocalHarvest.org! See you next month, and until then, take good care and eat well!