Not Sure What To Make With Your CSA Share?

Don’t worry! In addition to the great tips and recipes you’ll get from your fellow CSA members, NPR put out a great list of cookbooks highlighting easy to prepare and delicious recipes focused around eating locally.  Check it out here.

Meet Your Farmer!

We are happy to announce that next Wednesday, May 26th from 6 – 8 PM will be our Farmer Meet and Greet, with Martin and Gaudencia Rodriguez of MimoMex Farm. This is your time to introduce yourself to the people growing your food, to get to know them, and to ask them questions about the farm!
 
This event will take place at our distribution location, Hebron SDA Church at 1256 Dean Street on the corner of New York Avenue.  Refreshments will be provided.
 
This event is open to all current and interested members of the Central Brooklyn CSA, so spread the word to anyone who may be interested in joining. 

Why Join? Because You Can Make A Difference!

CSA’s help you make personal changes that will likely positively affect more than just you. What a way to begin to make a difference.

A lot of the news I read and watch tells me that we all need to try harder to live within our means. Whether that means, sticking to a budget, or making more Earth-aware decisions, or even watching what we eat so that we can enjoy life and avoid costly trips to the doctor.  There is no one thing any of us can do that will improve every aspect of our lives, but for my money, joining a CSA is a great place to start.

Spend Differently

The membership fee in most CSA’s goes directly to the farmer as seed money, and Central Brooklyn CSA is no different. The reasoning is simple: by knowing whom they are planting for and how much they need to harvest, farmers are able to budget better and ultimately save money. CSA memberships can help members apply that same logic to their personal finances. By pre-paying for a season’s worth of produce, members can better plan their grocery budgets, save money week-to-week, and not have to worry about the price of carrots or lettuce going up every time they go shopping.

Buy Differently

Buying food from local farmers is literally investing in your own community. Spending money in your neighborhood keeps business in your neighborhood and encourages those businesses to provide the products and services you like. But buying food from local farmers is also an investment in our global community. Not only does buying from a local farmer reduce the gas used to ship food by as much as 90%, but often, as is the case with our farm MimoMex, CSA farmers refrain from using petroleum-based fertilizers, which also reduces the use of (and  harmful by-products) of fossil-fuels. Did you realize that 1 in every 6 gallons of oil used in America is used for agriculture? By joining a CSA and buying locally-grown foods, you can help change this.

Eat Differently

If making a change can help you live a more healthy and productive life, isn’t that a change worth making?                Sometimes the most important change we can make is within ourselves. For some folks, the hardest part of joining a CSA is committing to eat fresh vegetables and fruit. Cooking at home and eating produce everyday is different if you are not used to it, true enough. Replacing chips, crackers, and sugary snacks with fresh produce can reduce your risk of diabetes, high blood-pressure, obesity, and cancer.  What is more, the Central Brooklyn CSA is committed to helping our members find new, delicious, and healthy ways to prepare their produce!

CSA’s help you make personal changes that will likely positively affect more than just you. What a way to begin to make a difference.

Check out our shout-out on “Not Eating Out In New York”

Our good friend Cathy Erway wrote a great piece on the Central Brooklyn CSA… There is still time to sign up, but hurry!  Shares are moving fast!

DEADLINE EXTENDED! (FOR NOW)

We would love for everyone to join the Central Brooklyn CSA, and even though we cannot make that happen, we are doing our best to make sure everyone who is interested at least has an opportunity.

Great news: due to the incredible response over the last week, we are extending the deadline to join the Central Brooklyn CSA! We are proud of the opportunity our CSA provides for members of our community to eat well for less, and want to make sure everyone that is interested in becoming a member has a chance to. Having said that, vegetable shares (standard memberships) and fruit and egg shares are going fast, so if you would like to become a member, we urge you to move quickly.

We have made a commitment to make at least 40% of our shares available to members making less than $35, 000, and we are keeping that commitment. However, in fairness to all potential members, we are accepting applications on a first come, first serve basis. (In other words, if you are planning on joining, you should know that the availability of shares is impacted by your income level.)

We would love for everyone to join the Central Brooklyn CSA, and even though we cannot make that happen, we are doing our best to make sure everyone who is interested at least has an opportunity.

If you are interested but have questions or financial concerns, please contact us (no need to panic!). If you sent in your deposit and membership agreement and want to make sure we received it, email us at CentralBrooklynCSA@gmail.com and we will get back to you right away.

Eat well, until we meet again!

What Do I Get For Volunteering?

Volunteering requirement serves has two primary functions: 1) to lower the cost of food for every member (despite income level), and 2) to promote the idea of “community” within our CSA.

The Central Brooklyn CSA has a minimum volunteer requirement of 4 hours of service for every adult member who is part of a share (regardless of whether a member receives a half or a full share).

The volunteer requirement serves has two primary functions: 1) to lower the cost of food for every member (despite income level), and 2) to promote the idea of “community” within our CSA.

So if you are wondering “Do I get a discount on weeks I volunteer?,” the answer is “yes, and no. “Volunteering helps the Central Brooklyn CSA save money by not hiring workers. Those savings are factored into the total cost of every share before you pay a dime.  So all members of the CSA “get something” for their efforts, we just get it up front!

Participating in the CSA community is just as important as the money members save. CSA’s answer complicated questions about sustainability, supporting local economies, healthy living, and community empowerment, with a very simple and effective solution. By realizing the power our community members have to work together, we are able to collectively increase our access to healthy foods at a low cost, help keep local farmers in business, and do all this in an Earth-friendly way. Score!

By requiring every adult CSA member to volunteer at least for hours, our CSA enables us to make contact and encourages us as a community to work together on other community related as well.

So, that is what you get for volunteering!

If you have questions about our volunteer requirement, or just questions in general, you can call us, e-mail us at CentralBrooklynCSA@gmail.com, write on our facebook wall (Central Brooklyn CSA), hit up our myspace page (http://www.myspace.com/531196295), or follow us on Twitter @CentralBklynCSA!  Phew! It’s tiring trying to be everywhere!

Affordability

Trying to make a dollar out of 15 cents!

On the average CSA’s cost less than buying the same foods in “traditional” stores.  In fact, when you do the math, most CSA’s cost a lot less. I would not say I am cheap (my girlfriend, however, would), but I do hate to overpay for things. The cost value in most CSA’s is probably the reason I signed on in the first place, and for me, the savings are real.  What’s more, paying for four months of produce all at once helps me budget what I spend on groceries better (sweet!) and helps me eat better, too (more on this in a later post!).

There is a risk in CSA’s – since the food is pre-purchased, local weather conditions can affect the harvest. However, CSA’s use professional farmers, who are up to the challenges that weather provides and rarely if ever are CSA members left holding the (empty) bag. (The proof is in the pudding on this one, most CSA’s bring back the vast majority of their members year-to-year.)

Because CSA’s pair communities directly with farmers and use cooperative labor, they often represent the greatest value in purchasing locally grown, sustainable produce around. But don’t just take my word for it, sign-up and see for yourself!

Membership Has It’s Privileges

Why did I first join a CSA? My girlfriend made me. Ok, she did not so much force me, as much as she led me to believe that if we did not join, my life would be considerably less pleasant for the foreseeable future.  As they say, “Mama didn’t raise no fool,” and shortly thereafter I found myself a member of my first CSA.

There were a lot of reasons I was hesitant to join, but the biggest one was simple: CSA’s are different than the traditional supermarkets I was used to. In most CSA’s, you pay for your share (typically one to two seasons worth of food) all at once, before the season begins. The food is seasonal – meaning you get what naturally comes out of the ground at that time of the year, and since my CSA, like most, partnered with a local farmer, that meant no tomatoes in June. Since I have an unnatural love of tomatoes, this was awful news. The food looks like it has just been harvested – it has – which means there may be a little more dirt on fruits and vegetables than we are accustomed to.  And of course there is a volunteer requirement (you mean I have to pay AND work for my food?!).

If CSA’s are so so different than traditional supermarkets and bodegas, why I am so excited to be a part of a CSA now? The first five reasons that come to mind are 1) it is affordable; 2) the food is delicious; 3) I get to “do something” in my community; 4) I feel like I am making a difference; and 5) it is different than a traditional supermarket.

We thought it would be cool if we made a “Why I joined my CSA, a regular series of posts that anyone can contribute to, so that is exactly what we are doing! Over the next few days, I will post more about my reasons for joining, but we would really love if you took the ball and ran with it – so feel free to comment or write your own post too!

Eat Well, Until We Meet Again,

JT