The Growth of Community-supported Foodstuffs

Most everyone living in a big city has heard of community-supported agriculture, or CSAs. A farm, or group of farms, delivers fresh food to a...

Most everyone living in a big city has heard of community-supported agriculture, or CSAs. A farm, or group of farms, delivers fresh food to a central drop-off point. You get whatever the freshest food the farms have, and they get to cut out the middleman, putting more money in the farmers' pockets. But the CSA model has recently started expanding beyond fruit and vegetables. A great example of this is a story in the Boston Globe about community-supported fisheries on the North Shore of Massachusetts in Maine.It works basically the same way. Sign up in advance, pick up fresh fish once a week. Sure, you're getting a whole fish, but it's cheaper than at the supermarket, and you're drastically reducing the distance between your food and your plate. Besides, everyone should learn how to fillet a fish. For fishermen, they are no longer beholden to the demands of large fish buyers. And since they can sell each fish at a larger profit margin than when selling in bulk to a super market ("The percentage of income was way up, in some cases 300 percent for low-value species like pollock."), they don't have to fish as much. At a time when our fisheries are stretched to the limit, that's a really big bonus. Plus, fish is really good for you.I've also heard about community-supported meat, where farms will bring you fresh cuts of whatever they've slaughtered that week. Not for the vegetarian-inclined, but the concept is the same, and much better than buying meat at the supermarket. Community-supported programs like this take a little extra effort, but go a long way towards making sure you're eating is local and seasonal, something we all need to start doing a lot more.Here is where you can find CSAs near you. I haven't been able to find a similar resource for CSFs, but a Google search for "community supported fisheries" turned up a lot.
via Barry Schapiro / Twitter

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