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Think Globally Act Locally – making the case for supporting a CSA farm

Posted 1/24/2017 10:55am by Joshua Reinitz.

I’ve seen this as a bumper-sticker mantra for many years and have generally agreed, but hadn’t put much thought behind it.  After a 2016 defined by political drama, intense social discussion, and election obsession, I have really been thinking more about that phrase as a guiding principle.  Think Globally Act Locally. 

Think Globally – humans now occupy nearly all of the habitable land on the planet.  Our primary energy source for society is still fossil fuels that were locked away by natural processes hundreds of millions of years ago, a savings account of carbon if you will.  Most public and private entities have a stated goal of continuous positive growth (forever?) that requires a steady input of that energy to sustain the system.  Our resources are stretched thin, and are not evenly distributed among people.  The system is not sustainable.

With that as a backdrop, we cannot ignore global issues.  In a time where America is going in the direction of self-focus (America First), it is long past the point where we have that luxury.  We are all citizens on a planet with limited resources, as well as citizens of individual nations who want to compete for those resources.  I feel torn between retreating to my own community and just shutting off the news and world concerns, or trying to educate myself about every global economic and political issue to be hyper-aware of what’s going on.  It is quite overwhelming, and I know many of you feel the same way.  On one hand, we have to focus on our individual lives and the concerns of our communities, yet on the other hand we have to carry the weight of global-level challenges.

Act Locally – for most of us, this is the only real action we can take.  Unless you are a high profile politician or CEO, you probably don’t have any real impact on world events.  I have felt helpless and depressed when I’ve thought in those terms, but I also think that putting my efforts into local action and individual consumer choices is the only way I can make a difference.  It can be quite uplifting and empowering.  I firmly believe that the real power always is in the hands of the people.  Grass-roots and individual efforts have the potential to turn into paradigm shifts.  In fact, I think it’s the only way those major shifts in human thought happen – a small action cascades into major social movement.

When I go to a store, I read labels.  I look up ingredients.  Where was it made?  I am aware of the system that produces our consumer goods and food and know that every dollar I spend is a vote for a system I support.  If I buy food in a box or can at the grocery store, I am supporting a system that is all about consolidation, commodity, global trade, subsidies, petroleum, and chemicals.  I am aware of the global impacts when I spend my individual dollar.  Think Globally Act Locally.

So, what does this have to do with CSA?  When you purchase a produce share from a CSA farm, your money goes directly into the hands of the producer.  You receive high quality fresh food directly from the source.  No cross country shipping, no warehousing, no profits to larger corporations and insurance companies.  Direct farm to table.  It doesn’t take long to figure out the global impact of that choice. The CSA farmers I know are incredible stewards of the land, have a farming system that sequesters carbon and enhances the ecosystem, don’t use many off-farm inputs, and are passionate about what they do.   CSA farmers are also very likely to be engaged in community organizations, education, politics, family, and farmer activism.  When you buy a CSA share, you are supporting a person who will use the profits from their farm to promote and practice sustainable living.  I’d like to think I am one of them.

It is a given to me that the food you get from a CSA share is of superior quality to what you buy in the store.  There’s just something about having a farmer pay direct attention to a plant’s needs that makes it better.  I’m sure we have all seen the studies showing little difference in organic food vs non-organic food nutritionally, but they do not address environmental and social impact of those different food systems.  It’s not just about nutrition for one individual person; it’s nutrition for the global community of people.  Spending a dollar on organic food supports a system that could eventually lead to a positive paradigm shift. 

A shift from a disposable consumer society to a sustainable eco-community-minded society.  One where we are referred to by the media and government as people and citizens, not consumers.  I don’t want to simply consume.  I don’t want to depend on money to get things, I’d rather make them.  If I don’t have the ability to make something, I partner with someone who does and perhaps barter for payment.  This is the type of future I want, and is why I have chosen to farm how I do.  CSA – Community Supported Agriculture.  A community supporting a farm; and the farmer giving back to the community.  It’s simple and beautiful, and it’s why I hope you choose to buy a CSA share from us this year!

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