Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Why Join a CSA?

Over the last several years, I started paying closer and closer attention to the food that I eat.

It all started when a friend recommended that I read “Fast Food Nation.” Appalled at the descriptions of factories along the New Jersey turnpike pumping chemicals into our food, I swore off “natural” and artificial flavors, “natural” and artificial colors, preservatives, and other chemical additives in my food. In addition, I vowed to stay away from high-fructose corn syrup, partially-hydrogenated oils, and any other hard-to-pronounce ingredients that smacked of excessive processing.

This, of course, turned me into a compulsive label reader. I no longer bought any packaged food product without turning it over to read the ingredient list. This new-found awareness about my food led me to question even foods that didn’t have labels to read. I would pick up an apple in a grocery store and think, “This apple seems rather…waxy” (turn out, it’s due to coatings of wax made out of petroleum or insect secretions). I would notice unusually vibrant oranges and tomatoes in the produce section, and wonder how they got that way (exposure to methane gas). I hadn’t found a worm or a bug on my produce in years, and I wondered what pesticides were being used to accomplish that (lots). And then I happened upon a documentary about the “kill gene” in genetically-modified corn, and decided enough was enough.

In addition to my new-found curiosity about what was being done to my food, I was also trying to eat healthier. I found logic I could agree with among vegan and paleo diet enthusiasts alike. The one thing I noticed about each diet I researched was that vegetables were never forbidden. Intelligent, informed people (doctors and nutritionists included) could disagree about the merits of meat, dairy, grains, and even fruit and legumes. But no one – NO ONE – disputed the health benefits of vegetables. I concluded that I needed to eat more vegetables and eat everything else in relative moderation.

It became clear to me that the solution to both of my problems (how to get processed foods out of my diet and how to increase my consumption of vegetables) was to join a Community-Sponsored Agriculture (CSA) farm. Doing so would allow me to have a degree of control (or, at least, knowledge) over what was being done to my food between the farm and the table. And it would force me, by delivering a crate of veggies to my door each week, to put veggies at the center of my meals. There will be other benefits (like environmental sustainability and potential cost savings), but those are just gravy for me. My motivation is really to get food in as close to a natural state as possible and to strive for nutritional excellence.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...