What is a CSA Box and Why Should You Subscribe?

July 06, 2020

A CSA box, or Community Supported Agriculture box, is a weekly (or sometimes monthly) subscription model to locally grown seasonal fruit and vegetables. Not only are you supporting your community and local farmers, which is especially important right now, but you are eating the freshest produce possible, practicing sustainability and saving money, amongst other benefits. Here are 3 simple reasons why you should consider subscribing to a CSA.

Seasonal Produce is the Freshest & Most Nutritious

Each CSA box contains seasonal fruits and vegetables that are picked ripe and transported directly from the farm to you, tasting fresher, richer and more nutritious. Not only will you have farm-fresh tomatoes and full-flavored blueberries, but many CSA models also include seasonal surprises from your local farmer, encouraging produce experimentation for the whole family. You may even try a new seasonal favorite that you would have never considered picking up elsewhere!

Simple Tip: Use fresh vegetables to test your design skills with Gardenscape Bread or toss onto a Chickpea and Spring Vegetable Pizza. Extra berries? Try this Summer Berry Jam with no added sugar. 

Locally grown blueberries and blackberries included in CSA box

You’re Supporting Your Local Community & Farmers

When subscribing to a CSA, you get to know more about your produce and the people who plant, raise and harvest it, all while supporting their farm, their jobs and helping to stimulate your local economy. Many CSA farmers also partner with other farms or local businesses to include fresh eggs, breads, meats and cheeses in your box, furthering your support of local businesses. This is a great (and delicious) way to support your community while cultivating a greater appreciation for your food systems and the food on your table. 

Locally grown cherry tomatoes included in CSA box can be used to make healthy recipes

CSAs are Great for the Environment 

Straight from the farm to your home, CSAs cut out the middleman and thereby also cut out long distances for transport and many carbon emissions. Whether the CSA box is picked up at a close community location or delivered right to your door, it also may cut out your need to travel to a grocery store. The money that you do spend goes right back into your community, helping keep green spaces like farms open and thriving for future generations.

At the end of the day, what we eat matters, as does where we source our food from. Farms are a vital part of our food system and farmers need our continuous support so they can keep planting, growing and harvesting the foods that help nourish us.

Looking to sign up for a CSA near you? Try this search engine or ask around at your local farmer’s market.

In Chicago? Learn more about these organizations helping grow the local food movement: Irv & Shelly’s Fresh Picks, Green City Market and Local Foods

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