Even Nerds Need Nutrients!

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Julia Rowinski
People & Process

Winter in New England can be hard on even life-long residents. Everyone has their moments between November and (let’s be honest) April where they make it through the day with an extra cafe mocha and some daydreaming about better seasons to come. Flowers! Birds! Sunshine! Outside! Don’t cry, buddy…it’s coming. Promise.

Sometime in bleak rabbit-hole that is February, we had the idea to try out a new “benefit” of sorts: procuring farm shares for the office from a local CSA. Here in the Pioneer Valley, there are a ton of farms to choose from. We did our homework- we wanted someone with a solid reputation, eco- and people- friendly, with a reasonably long growing season. That lead us to Mountain View Farm CSA in Easthampton, MA. They are all-organic, farm local land with a team of local people, and have been voted Best of the Valley in the Valley Advocate Reader’s Poll every year since 2009 here in Western Massachusetts. Liz and Ben at Mountain View were awesome getting everything set up and answering all our questions- come springtime, we knew we made the right choice.

Things growing!

Our shares are boxed for us to pick up at the farm. With our shares, we also have access to any of the U-Pick crops throughout the season, such as berries, peas, herbs, and flowers. And, we can purchase other items at their pickup market, like goat cheese, breads, honey, fresh tofu, and orchard fruits. Are you drooling yet?

Once we bring the shares back to the office, we split them up among ourselves and everybody leaves with a full bag of awesome. We take turns signing up for U-Pick spots, and driving to the farm to pick up our boxes and say hello. So far, it’s working out pretty awesome!

These are not beets.

In addition to everyone at Last Call getting to eat more veggies on the cheap, there are big community benefits to participating in a CSA! CSA stands for “Community Supported Agriculture”: members of the community provide financial stability to farmers by purchasing a share of the season’s harvest in advance of the growing season. That value is returned to them over the months ahead with their weekly pickup. It also fosters a real, direct relationship between food producers and consumers by connecting participants to their farmers and their food in a way that industrial agriculture does not allow. At our CSA, we also know that our farmers are taking care of the land they use in our community by practicing responsible and sustainable farming methods: the produce we receive is not only delicious, but free of pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, or other chemicals. By choosing a CSA, we exercise our ability to be conscious and engaged consumers, making decisions about where our food comes from, how it is produced, and who we’re supporting with our food money. We are, along with many others, are engaging in the reclamation of responsibility for the spaces and lands that we occupy and use, what we eat, and how these choices affect our community. The money we contribute not only turns into veggies on our plates- it also supports our real-life neighbors and friends who work, inhabit, and depend on the land.

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