Finally, as an official CSA member, I can say it: I’m against the Swap Box.
The Swap Box, as you may know, is the box where members can abandon a CSA item in the hopes of finding something they like better. What’s so wrong? Though, I have no argument with individual members exchanging whatever they want, whenever they want, I don’t think the CSA should endorse this practice.
Quick. Check my icebox. Yes. There. There within my crisper. Seven of last fall’s beets moldering for the last seven months. I like beets as much as the next gal but they sure do bleed over everything. A regular gore feast.
So why don’t I just swap them?
By joining a CSA we support a farmer who decides, week to week, what to harvest on our behalf. Hearty Roots does an impressive job of providing quality and variety. I signed up for the opportunity to figure out what to do with too many beets. CSA gives members the opportunity to experience what it’s really like to eat seasonally and that doesn’t always add up to what’s on our shopping list. Adjusting to this idea takes time and a certain degree of openness.
We are so fortunate to have access to everything all the time. A foremost pleasure of joining a CSA is remembering that we are resourceful, creative and adaptable.
I would never swap that.
CSA members and friends, this year I’m officially a member of our CSA.
It’s been an amazing and satisfying experience to be able to witness how one small, but growing, neighborhood organization can actually have a profound influence in a community. Gregg, Dana, Liza and I founded the Greenwood Heights CSA eight years ago when our neighborhood lacked immediate access to fresh local food. We were lucky that Associated Market and Steve’s C-Town had any fresh food but we craved local, seasonal produce. I knew north of here, folks had things like the co-op, a farmer’s market, even a CSA but I felt our neighborhood could support its own food destination and destiny. I wanted to stop having to travel to get certain things other neighborhoods took for granted.
When the CSA first opened for business I knew we would have members but I had no idea how it would grow and develop. Now when I see our CSA in the newly renovated Slope Park I’m proud of the role I played in raising awareness of how vital and active this community is.
Reflecting on these eight years, they seem to have passed much more quickly then I could have imagined. So many changes have happened to this community, to my family, to me. (I’m guessing to you too.) And yet, for me at least, the days didn’t fly by. Sometimes they dragged in excruciating slow motion.
This long winter, wondering what to do with myself, believing I had lost my appetite for yet another food book, I actually got inspired by reading two: COOKED by Michael Pollan and THE ART OF FERMENTATION by Sandor Ellix Katz. It was the right time for me to finally try fermenting something–maybe myself. It was empowering to be able to momentarily stop the process of decay and make something, if not meaningful, at least a different version of the familiar. My cabbage was transformed into sauerkraut, my milk into yogurt. Recognizing that we are all in a pickle may be the most comforting thought I’ve had in a while.
If you would like to join the Greenwood Heights CSA, you can register HERE. Shares are limited and they are sold on a first come, first served basis. Sign up today!
Beginning this Saturday, July 6th (our first day back in Slope Park), the CSA will be providing our members with a Swap Box. This idea has been pitched by many of our members, and after discussing it with our farmer, Ben Shute, it is becoming a reality. Continue reading