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60SIXTY's Photo 60SIXTY Posts: 24,911
4/8/11 7:15 A

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It will be about a month before we will start picking up food at our CSA.
We don't have to take more food than we want or need. The excess is distributed to food pantries in the inner-city of Indianapolis. Plus, we have two kids that we can give extra to. Also, our church has a table set up in summer for extra produce. Anybody who wants it can take it. But this includes the many people walking in the church asking for assistance with food.

if we were having a drought, the food in the grocery would be much higher. And the farmer's market wouldn't have food not available at the CSA.

Edited by: 60SIXTY at: 4/8/2011 (07:16)
Linda - North East Indiana, USA `Goal to build myself up to reach 1,000 fitness minutes per month.

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STUBBORNBOOTS's Photo STUBBORNBOOTS SparkPoints: (8,191)
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4/7/11 10:10 A

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We've been members of a CSA for about 8 or 9 years. I like it because it supports a variety of things that I believe in and therefore want to spend my money on:

1. The produce is organic/sustainably grown and pesticide-free.
2. Local - cuts down on the transportation cost of food and the consequent environmental impact.
3. Local - supports the local economy.
4. Helps a farmer and family make a decent living wage because their income is guaranteed by the upfront payment.
5. Results in a truer cost of food since the distribution is dependent on growing conditions, weather, etc. (Lower cost if the weather is good & higher distribution, and higher cost if not.)
6. Promotes seasonal eating - eating what is in season.
7. Helps me expand my palate by encouraging me to try new vegetables.
8. Excess produce can usually be frozen.

I think it's a great value - you just have to plan for the up-front cost.

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BETTY226's Photo BETTY226 SparkPoints: (0)
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2/14/11 10:35 P

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I do container gardens tomatoes, lettuce, I saw cabbage last year think I will try it this year.
No luck with peppers but they are pretty abundant around here in the summer. Looking forward to spring...might try peas this year.

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DIANE7786's Photo DIANE7786 SparkPoints: (78,341)
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2/14/11 10:38 A

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We look into CSA's every year because they sound good, but after a closer look they aren't the best for us. They are an expensive investment. If the crop doesn't grow for any reason, we would not get money back. The quality of the food isn't always great. You can get more than one type of food than you could possibly eat or freeze, like huge bags of zucchini. You're stuck with the variety of food they choose to plant (green peppers with 3 bumps instead of 4). Some CSA's require that you work a certain number of hours on the farm. A better option for us is buying from farm stands and U-pick farms. They are cheap, fresh and we choose exactly which foods we want.

Edited by: DIANE7786 at: 2/14/2011 (10:39)
BROWNIE2953 SparkPoints: (5,555)
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2/13/11 6:25 A

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I am deciding about a community garden plot versus a CSA versus the local farm markets. What a like about the CSA concept is that is supports local agriculture and it is already packaged and in one pickup location. I have no idea how to garden, so a garden plot would be a learning experience and only a few blocks from my apt.

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RUNNINGFOXLI's Photo RUNNINGFOXLI SparkPoints: (6,351)
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2/4/11 5:06 P

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I participated in a CSA last summer. It was an interesting experience, but I know I won't be able to afford it again this summer (the one in my area is 14-17 dollars a week, but they combine all the weeks for one monthly payment--and sometimes it can be hard to get that much money together). Produce is really cheap in grocery stores in my area, and I can choose vegetables with a longer shelf life. Splitting a CSA share with someone else sounds like a very good idea, as I did have a lot of spoilage due to getting giant bags of some things, like hot peppers. I'm going to try to get a container garden started on my balcony this year instead.

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60SIXTY's Photo 60SIXTY Posts: 24,911
1/31/11 9:31 P

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After getting a lot more info on the local CSA, we found that our favorite CSA was $500 for an expected 20 weeks of produce. That is about $25 a week for 4 adults and one child. So the portion for my husband and myself is $12.50 a week.

In reality, this CSA has had produce to offer shareholders for at least 23 weeks each of the past 3 years. Two of those years, they allowed share holders extra U-Pick privileges in some fields. They couldn't do that last year because we had a serious drought. But they did an evaluation of the value of the produce provided the share holders with area grocery stores. It would have cost the share holders $575 for the same or similar food at area groceries. So, they didn't lose money in spite of the drought.

I know that they were offering limited produce into December, which would be well past the 23 weeks. It isn't clear to me if that was free to the share holders. I think that what you can get if you go to the farm as opposed to a delivery point [such as locations in Indianapolis or Muncie] is going to be different. Especially since they may be offering U-Pick opportunities. They will have a limited supply of U-Pick berries and apples.

Linda - North East Indiana, USA `Goal to build myself up to reach 1,000 fitness minutes per month.

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MS_BEHAVIN's Photo MS_BEHAVIN SparkPoints: (16,319)
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1/27/11 8:51 A

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I love my CSA. Been involved for about 4 years for summer and the last two years they have been doing a winter CSA. The cost is averaged about $20 per week for a medium share (~4 people). I think it is a great deal for a variety of healthy and locally grown food. The cost, when averaged, is reasonable. And the intrinsic value of healthier and wide variety of food, smaller carbon footprint (no shipping of produce), and supporting my local farmer is hard to put a dollar value on.

"When given a choice between two evils, I always pick the one I haven't done before." Mae West


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60SIXTY's Photo 60SIXTY Posts: 24,911
1/25/11 11:57 P

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I have it figured that the CSA will be about $16 a week for a half share during the 20 weeks. I easily spend that much on produce. Hoping I would have some to freeze for later on weeks. Sounds cost effective to me.
It would be about $30-32 for a full share for up to 5 people.

I found another CSA in the area that had beef & poultry, but their prices were out of our league.

Edited by: 60SIXTY at: 1/26/2011 (00:00)
Linda - North East Indiana, USA `Goal to build myself up to reach 1,000 fitness minutes per month.

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THEADMIRAL's Photo THEADMIRAL Posts: 5,416
1/25/11 7:00 P

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I'd love to support a CSA, but they're just too expensive for us. I keep a log of how much we spend on fresh fruit and vegetables every week and it's just not worth it for us at this time.

I'm Vikki

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EPIPHANYANGEL's Photo EPIPHANYANGEL Posts: 3,145
1/24/11 6:29 P

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Here in the Uk we are fortunate to have government funded 'allotments'.

This basically means that a large area of land is divided into 'plots', not sure of exact measurements, these plots are then rented out on a yearly basis.

I currenty rent half a plot which is adequate for my family of four, for 22 a year, which doesnt include a yearly discount.

The problems now with the allotments are that more and more people want one, resulting in long waiting lists. and the local councils deciding to increase the yearly rents which will double over the next couple of years.

The downside is that the plots are not suitable for growing livestock which I would really love to do. The thought of owning a few pigs and some chickens really appeals to me.

Edited by: EPIPHANYANGEL at: 1/24/2011 (18:31)
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KURTORTOISE's Photo KURTORTOISE SparkPoints: (9,209)
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1/24/11 12:11 A

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60:
The Gro-Light I was considering is just a purple-colored fluorescent bulb in a regular housing that has to be hung from above.
The fish tank rig that you described sounds like the type of indoor gardening that uses water but no soil (I've forgotten what it's called).
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60SIXTY's Photo 60SIXTY Posts: 24,911
1/23/11 10:15 P

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I received an email from the farm we have been checking out. [I have links to it below] This one is about 30-35 miles away. It seems to have better prices.

When I first went to this website to find locations, I searched only a 20 mile radius & was not finding good selections.

www.eatwellguide.org/i.php?pd=Home

This particular farm makes deliveries in about 3 cities between them and Indianapolis. We are north of them. We have a daughter who lives only 15" from the farm. We are considering spitting either a whole share or a half share. We really only have 3 adults who eat produce well. The fourth will eat white potatoes & corn & that is about it.

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Kurt,
One of our girls got us a grow light system for Christmas. She has one, but has built her own to grow lettuce. She somehow rigged it using a fish tank pump & grow lights.
www.aerogarden.com/
This is the company. Seems kind of pricey to me.

If we go with the CSA produce, I am not sure what we will do about gardening. We only have a 15 X 20 plot at the most. Tomatoes didn't do well last year. We had better luck with bell peppers than most years. I felt like it barely paid for the plants.

I don't feel we save more than 10% shopping the farmer's market. We have found that buying from the Amish at the farmer's market is our best bet. So many of the farmers price their products at the same price as the grocery.

Linda - North East Indiana, USA `Goal to build myself up to reach 1,000 fitness minutes per month.

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"To lose a healthy one pound of fat per week, all it takes is a 500-calorie deficit per day."
I_AM_ME_STILL's Photo I_AM_ME_STILL Posts: 1,120
1/22/11 1:20 P

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(Members used to take turns driving Upstate to pick up the produce; everyone would equally share in the cost.)


We've talked about doing this here and while there seems to be an interest, no one has been willing to commit.

The closest pick your own type markets are over an hour drive away, but the fact that we could easily save 80% would make it worth it to us.

Right now we shop at the local farmers market from the people who do go to the pick your own farms and bring it back. We save about 30% on lettuces and up to 70% on green peepers and cucumbers.

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1/22/11 1:15 P

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I'm going to check this out again, too.



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ANOTHERMOMOF2's Photo ANOTHERMOMOF2 Posts: 4,417
1/22/11 12:09 P

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Last time I looked there were no CSA farms around us. I wish there was.

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KURTORTOISE's Photo KURTORTOISE SparkPoints: (9,209)
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1/22/11 9:36 A

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When people discuss topics like this, I wish I lived elsewhere.

There have been more and more serious proposals to install functional rooftop gardens in NYC, but not much done.
I can remember articles suggesting things like that in the 1970s, but most people didn't take it seriously.

Most people with houses here do not value front or back yards, so they've cemented them over and usually rent the space for parking. The City has plans to tax people who have done that.

We still have a small farm in Queens, and there are farms further Upstate, but the Farmers' Market prices here in the city are very high for me, even when I'm getting a decent paycheck.

The NYC farm Co-Ops that had started with the Hippie movement in the late-60s have pretty much disappeared. (Members used to take turns driving Upstate to pick up the produce; everyone would equally share in the cost.)
If I hear of anything now that is remotely like those co-ops, the people involved are doing it more for political reasons -- I'm very apolitical.

I've been looking into Gro-Lights to see if it's feasible to have a small "garden" in a small kitchen -- I could probably manage herbs and very small plants.
That's one of the first things on my To-Do List when I finally have a decent paycheck coming in.
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60SIXTY's Photo 60SIXTY Posts: 24,911
1/22/11 8:06 A

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In searching for a farm near me, I also used BING to search for a "CSA farm in Indiana"

This is the info on the website for the farm we are looking at:
. . . offer full and half shares in our Community Supported Agriculture program, as well as pastured eggs, meat birds, pastured pigs, and beef.

Products and Production Methods:
Chicken - Pasture Raised, No Antibiotic Use, No Added Hormones
Eggs - Pasture Raised
Produce - Pesticide Free

www.vicm.org/victoryacres.html

www.vicm.org/pdfs/CSA%20FAQ%20list%2
0a
nd%20answers.pdf


Edited by: 60SIXTY at: 1/22/2011 (08:13)
Linda - North East Indiana, USA `Goal to build myself up to reach 1,000 fitness minutes per month.

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"To lose a healthy one pound of fat per week, all it takes is a 500-calorie deficit per day."
60SIXTY's Photo 60SIXTY Posts: 24,911
1/22/11 7:51 A

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Now is the time to evaluate whether a Community Supported Agriculture share is worth it for you.
My daughter and I are considering splitting a half share. The one we are checking into also grows for fine restaurants.

It is a great way to get locally grown, organic foods. Most of them are not for profits. Some have eggs and perhaps chicken.

If you find farms in your area, you may want to post links to their websites. I know this is available in the USA & Canada. [Canada might have a different name for it, but it is the same thing.]

Spark Article:

A Getting-Started Guide to CSAs - Eating Locally Just Got Easier
www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nutriti
on
_articles.asp?id=1561


Find a CSA Farm; More info.
www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/pubs/csa/csa.
sh
tml


www.localharvest.org/csa/
www.biodynamics.com/csa.html

I had better luck finding a CSA with this link
www.eatwellguide.org/

Edited by: 60SIXTY at: 1/22/2011 (08:16)
Linda - North East Indiana, USA `Goal to build myself up to reach 1,000 fitness minutes per month.

Frugalists and Simple Living [co-leader]
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Team Co-Leader for OSTEOARTHRITIS OF THE LOWER BACK
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"To lose a healthy one pound of fat per week, all it takes is a 500-calorie deficit per day."
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