If you have been following our series of posts regarding Community Supported Agriculture programs (CSAs), you are now aware of what they are and of the economic benefits that they provide to the communities they serve. In this post, we'll cover how they can benefit your life in a more direct manner.
Buying PEI vegetables reduces pollution
Yes, that’s true. Every time you buy locally sourced vegetables, you're helping Mother Earth. The reason is actually quite simple: Most produce in typical supermarkets is not locally sourced, therefore, they require shipping from out-of-province which results in a greater release of emissions into the environment every time vehicles cross borders to get here.
To give you an idea of how many emission are generated, a 2008 report states that the delivery of produce from producer to retailer stores in the United States accounts for 50% of the local greenhouse gas emissions associated with food production and distributions.
By consuming local products, you are reducing demand for shipped goods and are contributing to a cleaner environment in the long run.
Local food has more nutrients and flavour
Another benefit of consuming locally produced food is that it usually contains a higher amount of nutrients due to less time in between it being harvested and it being served at your table.
When vegetables are shipped over long distances, their optimal nutritional value tends to decrease as they receive extended exposure to light and temperature changes while being moved from one location to another.
This passage of time also affects their flavour as the food starts breaking down and decomposes when travelling long distances and loses freshness as a result. Have you ever picked up lettuce from the grocery store only to find some leaves wilted or even spoiled in the mix? This is why.
If you are the type of person that values nutritional options without compromising on flavour, buying vegetables directly from your farm seems like a pretty appealing choice!
You know where your food comes from
It's worth remembering that the more steps you add between your food and you, the higher chance for contamination or mishandling. CSAs help reduce this risk by minimizing the steps in the supply chain.
Unlike vegetables from supermarkets, which come from all sorts of sources and are shipped over long distances, CSA products can easily be traced to their farm of origin.
You can easily verify the methods -- simply by asking farmers themselves -- that the use to grow their vegetables, as well as any certifications they have, their connections to the community, and other important details that would be difficult or even impossible for you to learn about otherwise. This is an invaluable part of eating local --especially in a CSA -- because you know your farmers and can trust that what you eat has been properly grown, harvested and handled. We encourage you to go to your local farmers and just judge for yourself, the fruits of their labour.
***Living a healthier lifestyle and finding produce that fits your specific needs and requirements has gotten a lot easier. Would you like to sample the vegetables that your community offers?