Here at the ETC we are constantly taking steps to reduce the amount of energy and fuel a person uses on a daily basis. Our latest, and yummiest, step was to join a local organic CSA.
CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture, is a way of buying food directly from a local farmer, rather than going through a middle man such as a grocery store. The customer pays either a lump sum up front or weekly installments for a share of the farmer's produce. Then, the customer picks up his share on a weekly basis directly from the farmer at either his/her farm, or a convenient drop off point.
Why do this? To cut out some of the "hidden petroleum" in our food. According to the article Does it Really Matter Whether Your Food was Produced Locally? the average grocery store food item travels over 1,000 miles to get to your plate. Prepare a meal of grains, beans, veggies and a salad, then add common condiments, and you are easily into the tens of thousands!
So, who did we choose? Mt. Lebanon Farm, near Lawrenceburg, TN. They are a brand new family farm, and are super excited about being able to provide their neighbors with fresh, organic foods. We took a tour of their place on March 31st, and came back with a bushel full of fresh, organic greens and lettuce. One of the kids even dug a few baby carrots up on the spot for us to take home, and then threw in some radishes, too. In addition to viewing their produce, we got to take a look at some of their animals. Chickens for both eggs and meat, ducks, goats, and a momma cow with her baby round out the farm yard crew. Some of the products from these animals are available now, but more will be included in the CSA next year.
If you are interested in lowering the miles your food travels, head on over to LocalHarvest.org. They have a searchable data base of CSAs, farmer's markets, food co-ops, and more. That's where we found Mt. Lebanon. Now, a portion of our produce will go from using 1,000 miles worth of petrol, to less than 60 (and that's the round trip drive, not just one way.)