In Your System

It’s such a shame that so many people missed out on last night’s Engage Green. We still had a decent crowd, with about 15 in attendance, but nothing to compare to last month’s 40 count. All three presenters did a great job covering their topic and providing wonderful research tips about CSAs in general. I want to give a huge thank you to Jennifer & Tim, Tana, and Sizwe.

Our first presenter was Sizwe with Earth Matters. He discussed permaculture and the importance of engaging in a culture that can be sustainable by living off the land and giving back to the land. His Community Garden collects leaves from all around Nashville and creates art piles to compost. To enrich the compost with nitrogen, they also collect old coffee grounds from Starbucks and other food scraps to mix in with the decaying leaves. This compost can be picked up for FREE to add to your soil at home. The only thing they ask is that the compost be used to grow food, not flowers and shrubs.

Our second presenter was Tana with Eaton’s Creek Organics. She is the farmer for a certified organic farm here in Davidson county (near Joelton). She focused on the history of CSA programs in the United States and abroud. Did you know that the food we eat travels an average of 1500 miles before it arrives at our dinner table? That’s just an average. Some of our food travels more than 3000 miles. Think of the reduction in your carbon footprint when you choose to purchase your food from only 15 miles away.

Our third presenter was Tim with Avalon-Acres. Below is an outline of the presentation he gave:

What is a CSA?

  • Community, corporate, or congregation Supported Agriculture
  • Subscription based farming in which members share in the harvest, for good or bad
  • Regular deliveries for 26 weeks
  • Members receive assistance in preparing food (recipes, ideas, new foods to try)
  • The members build a connectedness with the local land, weather, and other members

Why buy local?

  • Livestock: Animals are outside on pastures, with no hormones or antibiotics because they are treated humanely. Did you know that commercially raised animals require antibiotics because the stress of living in confined space makes them susceptible to diseases? Did you know that those antibiotics get into our systems and the systems of the other animals and creates a resistance to those antibiotics, which makes it more difficult to cure ailments?
  • Produce: Bio dynamic and diverse, sustainable growing methods are encouraged while the use of unnatural fertilizers and pesticides are discouraged. Many CSAs also work in conjunction with other local farms to build the variety of produce and meats offered.
  • Food is picked ripe: When you purchase a tomato from the grocery store and throw it on the ground, it will likely bounce. Tomatoes should not bounce, they should splatter! Commercially farmed produce is picked premature and is artificially ripened after traveling across the nation to your town.
  • Local Supporting Local: More money from a CSA goes directly to the farmer ($0.55 compared to $0.09 at grocery stores), and in turn the farmer uses that money to support other local businesses as they buy supplies and other living expenses.
  • Knowledge: You have the ability to speak directly with the farmer about who grows the food, how the food and meat is grown and packaged, and where the food comes from. You also become aware of how you are intricately connected to this planet… you notice the development of rain clouds in time of drought, and how the seasonal changes affect the types of food that can be produced.
  • Health: You eat much healthier food with a greater variety of food choices in season.
  • Preservation: Heirloom and Heritage varieties of plants and animals are preserved. By purchasing a Heritage variety turkey from a CSA, you help encourage the reproduction and spreading of a dying species.
  • Connection to the Community: Tim started to tear up he as spoke of one of his members. They told him, “My favorite day is Wednesday (drop off day) because I get to sit on the patio with my daughter and shuck peas before dinner. Because of you my family is closer than it ever was before.”

At the end of the presentation, everyone who attended was given a FREE dozen organic eggs, courtesy of Avalon-Acres. Growing season has started and many CSAs around Tennessee begin deliveries by the end of April, early May. Don’t miss out on your chance to enroll in a CSA. In the Local Table Magazine you can find a very extensive list of local CSAs along with a chart of what food is naturally in season when.

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