Your hungry little sidekick is known to belt out Old MacDonald during dinner. Hey, in terms of bringing farm to table, it’s a start. Take things a big step further by signing up for a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program.
Benefits of a CSA
Not all of us have the green space, or the thumb, to grow our own healthy harvest. That’s where these food delivery services come in. CSAs connect their members straight to farmers, who offer a prime array of local, organic ingredients that are often plucked from the field just hours before you lay hands (and teeth) on them. Shares (which come in the form of boxed veggies, fruits and eggs) can be delivered to your door or picked up at a nearby location.
New to CSAs?
Dip your toe into the CSA pond by trying a half share, which arrive every other week or contain a smaller amount of goods, depending on the farm. As a guideline, a full share typically feeds two people on a vegetarian diet or four people on a mixed diet.
The Chicago area has plenty of CSA options. As of press time these favorites still had openings, but all CSAs tend to fill up faster than you can say “E-I-E-I-O.”
One of the largest CSAs in the U.S. was one of Chicago’s first when it began in 1991. Two years later this farming community adopted a biodynamic philosophy — a holistic mindset that emphasizes the interrelationships of soil, plants and animals as a self-sustaining system. Founder Farmer John is the subject of the award-winning film, The Real Dirt on Farmer John, which follows his personal journey through the farm debt crisis of the 1980s, which temporarily shut down operations, to the creation of Angelic Organics. Farmer John was inspired to create a CSA program because he believed it brought farming back to its roots, when farmers had a direct relationship with the people that ate the food.
Summer and fall vegetables and fruit
A 20-week full share, delivered once a week mid-June through late-October is $740. A half share, delivered every other week during the 20-week period, is $400.
Families with hectic summer travel schedules can pick weeks to participate by choosing the flex share option ($40 for each week you receive a share).
A 10-delivery fruit share is $500.
Farmer John created Angelic Organics Learning Center as a way to help educate and mentor others with dreams of farming and provide fun learning experiences for the public. It offers day camps for kids where they help take care of baby goats, tend to farm animals by brushing the horses or gathering eggs and learn about farming through fun games. Check the schedule for fun family days.
1547 Rockton Rd.
Do you subscribe to a CSA? Tell us about it in the comments below!