We reside in a society that generally struggles with the balancing act of busy careers, home lives, making good food choices, and making good choices for the environment, all while trying to make everyone happy. Yes, you do have the group of people who are willing to change their whole lifestyle to live perfectly green while producing their own healthful foods, staying organic and keeping waste at an extreme bare minimum. Unfortunately you also have the group at the other end of the spectrum that doesn’t want to take the time to think twice about what they are putting into their bodies and who also don’t care about waste or don’t want to believe that our environment will go down in shambles if we don’t take better care of if. Then there is the huge group of us average people caught in the middle. The people who want to eat well and be mindful of the environment, but can’t exactly manage or afford to stop their career and live on a farm while residing in a completely green home. Not only that but the price of eating healthy and organic comes with a cost that the average American can’t afford; especially for an entire family. So, what can we “in the middle” people do to make sure we are making the best choices for our bodies and for our environment? Well, first you must remember that you don’t have to change your whole life overnight; it’s the little things that can actually add up and make a difference.
I do think that people in general are becoming more mindful of these matters. I am sure you go to the stores and notice more and more people bringing their own reusable bags with them. I was recently surprised to hear that many people are starting to use cloth napkins at meals instead of purchasing paper napkins. Not only are you saving paper, you are also saving money. Most are becoming more aware of water bottles as well and are starting to carry reusable containers for their beverages. I know I personally try to think about everything I need out of the refrigerator when I am cooking and try to only make one or two trips in, rather than reopening it every time I need something. So, these are small things that many are starting to do, which as a whole can make a huge difference on the environment and save people money in the end.
While we are managing to find simple ways to reduce waste, I think many of us still struggle on the eating healthful part. We want to eat things that are good for us, but it can be expensive and many don’t think they have the time to cook or prepare meals. Well, I may have a solution for many of these people. Not only a solution for eating healthful and nutritious foods, but doing so at a reasonable cost and while helping the environment. It’s called a CSA or Community Supported Agriculture. This is something that I recently learned of and became a part of in my community. This is a way for people to buy locally grown seasonal produce direct from the farmer at an incredibly reasonable price. Not only are you supporting a local business while getting fresh from the farm produce, but you are reducing the pollution caused by produce being trucked all over the country and even sometimes shipped across the world as well as on packaging. You may think, well isn’t all produce fresh from the farm? Technically, yes, but it could be days and even weeks before that produce actually makes it to your local grocery store after being picked. With a CSA you are in most cases getting produce that was harvested within 24 hours of you receiving it. Not only that, but many CSA’s also run strictly organic. You usually pick up or have a delivery every one or two weeks, depending on your subscription. Your box will contain whatever is seasonal and ready for harvesting at that time. This is also a great way to experiment with new produce that you may have never tried before. This type of resource will generally motivate people to take more time to cook because they are interested in using this abundance of fresh food at their fingertips. They will also find it easy to throw quick dishes together without a lot of effort. Not only that but for those of you with children, it generally gets them motivated and excited to eat more veggies because they can feel involved in picking up the goodies straight from “their” farm.
There are many benefits to joining a CSA and it is a small choice that can make a positive impact on the environment, your local community, your health and your bank account. If you would like to find out more about CSA’s and whether there are any available in your area, please visit www.LocalHarvest.org . Below I have also shared some pictures and information regarding our first box from our local CSA, Green Cay Produce  (Farming Systems Research, Inc.). Stay tuned for many recipes to come using our wonderful local produce!
Our first box, which is a full share that will last us two weeks, included summer squash, zucchini, spaghetti squash, butternut squash, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, arugula and mustard greens.