The Little Box That Could

We’re starting a new series here at Adventures in Local Food.  Thinking Inside the Box will be a semi-regular column on community supported agriculture (CSA), with submissions from members of CSAs throughout the province about their experiences.  Our first post comes from Megan Gray.

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Last spring I finally took the plunge and made a commitment I’d considered for months.

I bought a 52-week Community Agriculture Share (CSA). On a Tuesday last April I picked up a box bursting with fresh, local vegetables grown in the Annapolis Valley. Thus began a weekly adventure in local and sustainable agriculture that has become about much more than vegetables – it has been personally transformative.

Little rituals in our lives can take on an almost sacred quality. Every Tuesday starts with anticipation: what will this week bring? I get an email from my farmer on Mondays to describe what’s coming and offer news from the farm; I resist peeking lest I ruin the excitement of opening the box and finding my treasures. One by one I pull out each item and combinations and ideas start whirling through my head. I get out my cookbooks and start planning my menu for the week. These menus have been an educational adventure in themselves: what do you do with celery root? How do you cook an artichoke? And I’ve learned to love beets – rich purples and golden yellows shredded in salads and pastas and soups – exquisite!

Inside I’ve found garlic, carrots, cabbage (nappas, reds, and greens), chard, cherries, melons, onions, apples, potato, turnip, tomatoes, greens, kale, leeks, jam, hot peppers, herbs, scapes, sprouts, spinach, sauerkraut, sweet potato, plums, pesto, pickles, and more – the variety has been bountiful and has shifted with the seasons. Experiencing that journey through the year connects me with the rhythm and processes of the earth and her cycles in a tangible way; there is a reason why we don’t grow tomatoes in January, and buying “fresh” tomatoes in winter becomes much more complicated than from seed to soil to farmer to consumer. Even if I’m complacent to those complications, it doesn’t mean there aren’t real impacts on my health, my community, and the world.

This little box has given me a connection to my food that has not only made me more aware of who and where my vegetables come from, but I have become more conscious of everything I eat, where it comes from, who and how it impacts me and my health, my community, and the environment. It has helped me to understand how every choice I make can be an action that helps to destroy or to sustain my world. My world has changed.

Every Tuesday when I pick up my box, every time I serve a dish free of processed and imported ingredients, every time I try something new, it is an action that I can connect directly to a farm and a farmer in the Annapolis Valley who I have met and spoken to and discussed our shared food. I want to live in such a way that I can easily understand the impact of my choices. My CSA allows me do that – in a delicious, fun, and soul-satisfying way. For me, that just makes sense.

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Megan is a member of Taproot Farms CSA.  For a complete listing of CSAs in Nova Scotia and Atlantic Canada, visit ACORN’s database.  if you are already a CSA member and you’d like to write a post, please contact Marla at foodaction@ecologyaction.ca.

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