By Chris M. Johnson
As living a healthy lifestyle becomes a more prominent issue among college-aged individuals, the procurement of healthy foods has come to the forefront in a big way. Anyone operating within a busy schedule can easily understand the difficulty involved with consuming healthy foods and eating in a way that fits within their responsibilities and time constraints. Simply put, eating right means that time and convenience does have to be sacrificed. However, eating fresh and delicious food is not a sacrifice that needs to be factored in among these concerns. There is an affordable solution, and that comes in the form of community supported agriculture, or CSA farms.
In a time when buying local goods from Louisville providers is a common and well-publicized issue, the option to buy into CSA farms is among one of the most important ways to support the local economy. The concept is simple and harkens back to the ways of old: The consumer gives the farmer money for the crops he or she has cultivated. Buying food directly from the provider seems logical, right? How we could have ever deviated away from this two-step process seems shocking when juxtaposed with the way we often procure food, which is fast, convenient and unhealthy.
The foods that we have at our immediate disposal are often present strictly for convenience. The addition of foods from local farms gives students a healthier and more responsible option of food procurement.
Supporting CSA farmers is a great shift away from the current trend. For example, Courtney Farms, based out of Bagdad, Ky., offers three different packages that conform to the lifestyles of large families, couples and even single consumers. These three packages range from $410 to $625 for 22 weeks of fresh produce – that’s right, five and a half months of fresh produce. The smallest package boils down to roughly $75 per month of service.
What’s included in this investment? With Courtney Farms’ least expensive package, you’ll receive 22 weeks of spring onions, dill, radishes, snap peas, kale, lettuce, green beans, tomatoes, cantaloupe, zucchini, yellow squash and cucumbers. Not only can you snack on or make healthy meals out of many of these items, but you can also incorporate them into other inexpensive and super classy dishes, such as pasta or Mediterranean fare.
Courtney Farms is just one example of a CSA you can support. If you know of any local farmer, odds are they have a CSA program. There are also farmers’ markets in Louisville at which you can buy fresh goods from a large assortment of Kentucky and southern Indiana growers. Both CSA programs and farmers’ markets will enable you to make healthier decisions when it comes to food, while putting your dollars into the pockets of some very deserving local folks who work very hard to cultivate edible and delicious food.
Or, you can continue to support McDonald’s and the dollar menu. Why shouldn’t you do that? Well, it’s very simple. Fast food cannot possibly provide your body with the nutrients you need to fire on all cylinders. Fresh fruit and vegetables can cover that for you. It’s science. By supporting local farmers, you are covering several great aspects of consumerism. Most notably, you are buying into your own health and you are helping local individuals defeat the big corporations such as Walmart, Target and McDonald’s.
University of Louisville provides a wide array of fast food and food that is simply not that great. Whether you live on campus or not, supporting local farmers is the best and most reliable decision. Putting your hard-earned money into people who work hard to earn theirs is the right idea. CSA farms provide the right tools for us to support them and to support ourselves.