Thursday, February 3, 2011

Community Supported Agriculture - connecting farms to your table in Brookline

The CSA (Community Sponsored Agriculture) movement in the U.S. began with two farms in Massachusetts and New Hampshire in 1985. It has since spread throughout the country and assumed many different forms, but the basic premise of building connections between farmers and consumers remains central. Farmers essentially sell 'shares' of their farm in order to generate much-needed income before the start of the growing season and ensure a market for some (or all) of their crops. The consumers shoulder part of the risks inherent in farming (illness, crop failure, etc.) in exchange for a weekly box of fresh produce during the growing season.
Bountiful Brookline is working to create and strengthen an enduring local food system in Brookline and the surrounding area. In order to expand access to fresh food that is healthy for our citizens, our communities, and our environment, we encourage and facilitate participation in urban community agriculture. One of the many benefits of a functioning local food system is its resilience, for it draws on a wide variety of decentralized sources in order to feed people.
At this point urbanites cannot feed themselves, but there are many different ways for residents of Brookline to sink their teeth into fresh local/regional food. In addition to the popular farmer's markets and farm stands, the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) model has become an important part of emerging local food systems in Massachusetts. CSA is a great way for you and your family to forge new connections with your food while directly supporting the small farm that produced it. Of course, you get to enjoy delicious fresh produce too!

Stillman's farm, located in Lunenburg, Ma, offers a summer fruit and veggie CSA, a more limited winter CSA, and a monthly meat CSA. Stillman's has several pick-up locations around Boston, including a convenient spot at the Brookline Public Health Department Parking lot (11 Pierce St.) on Sundays. You can find out more, including online CSA registration information, at their website .

And in our own backyard Allandale Farm offers a host of CSA options, including produce, eggs, and flower shares.

If you are interested in learning more about CSA, or if you know you want to reserve a share for yourself, then head over to theMOVE's 2011 Farm Share Fair where you can meet representatives from over a dozen CSA farms and find out which farm is best for you. This free event is on Thursday 2/3 from 5:30-8pm at the Democracy Center in Harvard Square.

The same night there is a panel discussion titled being held in JP. The purpose of this forum is to evaluate the current state of food security and food justice in the Northeast region and identify ways to strengthen the local food system. The event is from 7-9pm at First Church in Jamaica Plain, Unitarian Universalist, located at 6 Eliot Street, Boston, Ma. Put on by the JP Forum, this free event features Edith Murnane, the city's recently appointed director of food policy, as moderator. Please see the above link for more information about what should be an interesting and informative evening.