Community Peace and Food: CSAs and farmer’s markets

I have wanted to be a member of a CSA (community-supported agriculture) since I heard about the concept. But due to the nomadic, carless lifestyle I’ve chosen to lead for most of the past 10 years or so, I have never been able to do it. Finally, though, as I wrote last week, I was able to join one! Yesterday was our first day to pick-up our bountiful basket at the Mission Hills Farmers’ Market.

Next week I will take a photo – I forgot my camera. Instead, I will describe the abundance to you:

Two bunches of kind kale, one bunch of sumptuous spinach, an armful of spectacular citrus, a bunch of opulent onions, two bunches of crunchy carrots, a bag of appetizing almonds, and a jar of harmonious honey. We also supplemented our bounty with some appetizing asparagus, beautiful broccoli and blissful blueberries. All in all, a great start to summer :-)

I see a strong connection between CSAs, farmer’s markets and peace. Just within the name – community-supported – the connection is pretty clear. But let’s explore it a little bit…

National Peace Academy defines 5 spheres of peace: personal, social, institutional, political, and ecological. The social sphere is defined as:

the relationships of individuals with other individuals and to their collective coexistence.¬† In the social sphere, peace requires that we actively strive to establish right relationships with others.¬† Social peace is pursued through inquiry into our attitudes, intentions, and actions regarding how we manage our interpersonal conflicts and differences, and how we give to and receive from others the qualities and conditions that comprise human dignity.”

Participating in a farmers’ market regularly helps to foster right relationships with our neighbors. You see the same people weekly, you smile and laugh together, you say hello, you support each other. Simple acts, but simply by providing an interactive place for people to gather has lots of potential. It feels like a step in the right direction in terms of harmonious collective coexistence.

At the economic level, CSAs and farmer’s markets help to keep money within our communities. They also help to provide sustainability and security to our local farmers.¬†According to the Brian’s Farmers’ Market CSA web site:

“By joining the CSA you are taking an active step in helping our local certified producers continue to grow the food we need. Each member commits to 12 weeks, which allows our farmers the security in knowing that they will have the funds necessary to plan for the next season.”

Joining the CSA is also a sound economic investment for our household. For the monthly sum of $60, we get 4 generous baskets of food per month. It’s a good deal, and certainly beats what we would spend at a grocery store or at the farmers’ market buying individually.

At the ecological level, buying local and organic is certainly better for our planet than the alternatives – perhaps one of the best things we can do. Agriculture – and the transportation emissions around shipping agricultural products around the world – is one of the main contributors to global climate change.

At the personal level, supporting my local CSA makes me happy. Walking to the farmer’s market with my husband and dog on a beautiful sunny solstice summer day certainly contributed to my personal peace!

What are some ways that you promote peace through food at the community level? What are some connections between farmers’ markets, community agriculture and peace?

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