5 Reasons to Love Farm Shares
Community-supported agriculture. It’s more than just a buzzword. With a nod to Earth Day, we’re sharing five reasons why farm shares are a great way to contribute to more sustainable food production—and savor the best of the Earth’s bounty.
Living in the city may make the concept of eating farm-fresh ingredients sound difficult, but as the Seaport’s Fulton Stall Market proves, that’s a myth. You may have popped by one of their outdoor farmers markets in the neighborhood, or picked up delicious food items from regional producers at their indoor market on South Street. What you may not know is that Fulton Stall Market also supports regional farms via its CSA Farm Share, providing a mutually beneficial connection between New York and tri-state farmers and producers and the Lower Manhattan community.
The program is available seasonally, and you can join anytime at a prorated cost. Doing so will provide weekly pick-ups of 17 share options of quality farm products or prepared local products. Choose from fresh fruit and vegetables, eggs, farmstead cheese, meats, seafood, breads and more.
Aside from the obvious benefits of enjoying delicious ingredients all season long, here are five ways farm shares provide feel-good vibes, especially when it comes to supporting Mother Earth.
1. Play a role in the local food system
Eating out, ordering in, fast food, shopping at mega-chains … modern life can make us feel disconnected from where our food comes from. By becoming a member of a CSA, you join like-minded citizens and get to participate in your local food system. Often, you can get to know the growers and producers behind your favorite ingredients on farm visits, or when they come to markets in the city. Your membership fees also support the ongoing operation of the farms in the region—covering upfront costs of things like seeds, tools and other materials. Plus, by eliminating the need for packaging and lengthy transportation, CSAs help boost farmers’ profits—which feels a lot better than supporting giant corporations.
2. Lower carbon footprints
Since your food is coming from a radius of no more than a hundred miles—for Fulton Stall Market, that means New York state and adjacent states—less energy is required to transport and refrigerate produce across long distances. (How many times have you seen produce grown internationally in your supermarket? Ever wondered about the miles and energy it took to get there?) Knowing your farm-share goodies were grown locally means you’re contributing less CO2 emissions to the environment.
3. A healthier you is good for the Earth
We don’t need to tell you about the health benefits of eating your fruit and vegetables. But we’re happy to remind you that not all produce is created equal. Signing up for a farm share will guarantee that you’ll have fresh, sustainably-produced ingredients on hand in your kitchen—the kind free of harmful chemicals typically used in conventional farming. Some fertilizers and pesticides have been proven to have carcinogenic effects and may disrupt the endocrine system (i.e. your hormones). Avoiding this with responsibly-farmed ingredients will create a healthier you—which translates into lower mortality rates and less medical expenses for you, your family, and community.
4. Less pesticides and fertilizers
This benefit is not only for you, as we just heard, but for the environment. Smaller farms are usually committed to more sustainable farming practices, including using less pesticides and fertilizers, which helps reduce groundwater pollution. In turn, this provides local communities with cleaner drinking water. Fertilizer runoff can also create pollution in waterways and damage fish populations. Preventing that from happening will lead to more sustainable seafood being available for future generations.
5. Support farmers’ creativity and growth
Smaller farms that participate in farm shares tend to focus on a smaller number of crops, cultivating a specialty. When your grower is an expert in their field, you’re more likely to find unexpected types of produce in your weekly farm share. Think heirloom varieties and fruits and vegetables you’re less likely to see in chain supermarkets. Getting to know your farmer also provides an education in different crops, with new ideas for how to use them in your cooking. Check out farmer Cheryl Rogowski’s notes on the Fulton Stall Market site, for example, to read updates from Rogowski Farm, and recipes utilizing some of their CSA items such as Brazilian collard greens, spicy kale, and butternut squash. Supporting farmers like Rogowski also contributes to the longevity of local farming—Rogowski has the honor of being the first American farmer to receive a MacArthur Genius Award, for her innovative solutions to the challenges of modern family farming.
Learn more about Fulton Stall Market’s CSA and sign up for the Spring farm share at any time.