Thursday, January 29, 2009

Support local agriculture!

We live in a region full of amazing local vegetable options. While I do know it's winter, and the farmer's markets are closed, it's time to start considering joining a CSA or planning your vegetable garden.

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Farmers sell shares of their harvest to the community prior to the actual harvest. By purchasing a share, people become members, or shareholders of the CSA. This allows farmers to support their families during the growing season, rather than having to wait until selling their harvest. Once it's harvest season, shareholders receive weekly baskets brimming with vegetables, flowers, fruits, or other items that the CSA grows. There are a number of CSAs available to us in Humboldt. During the 2008 year, we were members of Pierce Family Farm up in Orleans, CA. The amount of vegetables we received was amazing and even allowed us to freeze some for the winter. Weekly bundles of basil ensured pesto and tomatoes were made into salsa and spagetti sauce. Summer squash, peppers, onions, garlic, strawberries, carrots and peaches quickly eaten up. I looked forward to loading the kids in the bike seat & carrier to pick up our share, always wondering what amazing organic vegetables I'd find waiting for me.

I'm not entirely sure if the CSAs are accepting members at this time, but I do know that they fill up very quickly! The local CSAs are:
Pierce Family Farm
Orleans, with a pickup spot in Eureka and Arcata
(530) 627-3320
Serving: Northern Humboldt County
Membership: 16 weekly pickups for $320-$350 sliding scale (accepting $10 Community Currency)
to learn more about Community Currency check out Democracy Unlimited Humboldt Exchange system.

Arcata Educational Farm
Old Arcata Road
Arcata, CA 95521
825-1777 (at the Farm) or 822-4623 (Sarah)
Serving: Northern Humboldt County
Membership: 22 weekly pick-ups, sliding scale $400-$450 ($18-$20 a week)
$50 deposit to secure your spot

Redwood Roots Farm
P.O. Box 793
Arcata, CA 95518
(707) 826-0261
Serving: Hydesville to Trinidad and everywhere in between
Membership: 5 months plus winter u-pick crops available, $400-500/share, sliding scale

Green Fire Farms
Hoopa Valley
Pickup in Eureka or Arcata
Membership:25 weeks, June 2 - November 23, $475-$525 sliding scale ($19-21/week)
click here for more information.

If you're concerned that you won't be able to eat a whole share, e-mail Democracy Unlimited and they can hook you up with others that are wanting to share.

Also be sure to check out the amazing local, organic produce selection at the North Coast Co-op. You can find their weekly local produce specials online.

Then starting in April, the North Coast Growers Association will begin another season of Farmers Markets. They sponsor FM are FM in McKinleyville, Arcata, and Eureka. A list of markets and their times can be found on the NCGA website. There's also a FM in Trinidad (May - September)and Fortuna (May - Oct)

Supporting local farmers through CSAs, the Co-op or Farmers Markets is one way to decrease your carbon footprint, dependancy on corporate agriculture and fossil fuels.

In my next post I'll start discussing growing your own vegetables and the local resources. If you're interested in organic gardening, be sure to sign up for Eddie Tanner's organic gardening class. More information found through HSU's Extended Education

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