An old way of farming is becoming new again. Local farmers are helping to feed their own communities, many family farms are experiencing new life and young people are starting to consider farming as a lifestyle and career choice....there's nothing like something green and fresh in the dead of winter.
Residents throughout the Metro area are cultivating relationships with the people who grow their food from Franklin and Hohenwald to Red Boiling Springs and Eagleville. One of the way's that eaters are connecting with a local farm is through Community Supported Agriculture or CSA. According to Local Harvest.org, the movement in the US has grown from a few pioneers in the late 80's to over 2000 farms. And that number continues to grow. In the Nashville metro area, the first few CSA's started in the late nineties and the number is now at 21 and counting.
CSA's are a partnership between a farmer and a community of eaters providing a direct link between the growing and eating of food. CSAs help put a face on the food. The eater buys a share of the harvest at the start of the growing season and then gets a beautiful box of fresh picked vegetables every week until the end of harvest. CSAs provide the eater with fresh, healthy, locally grown food, the knowledge they are helping support a local food economy and the protection of the family farm. The farmer gets a guaranteed market and helps him or her to continue farming within the pressures of the global economy.
Buying into a CSA usually means learning to eat seasonally, however there are a few courageous local farmers that are extending their growing season with greenhouses or unheated hoop houses. Winter CSAs can run anytime from October through April and offer a mixture of cool season crops including salad mixes, arugula, beets, carrots, cucumbers, garlic, onions, peas, kale, potatoes, spinach, and sweet potatoes. There are only a few in the area and one is already sold out for this winter season, so check in early if you're interested.