On Local Food

Wes and I have been contemplating joining a CSA for over a year now to meet our fresh produce needs. The benefits of joining a CSA are myriad, and the biggest one perhaps is that keeping food dollars local helps farmers, the environment, and us. The downsides of joining a CSA is that’s its a bit like buying stock in a farm with the dividends being produce – its risky, and expensive, even in a good year.
After much hemming and hawing and thinking about what’s really important to us (we are on a super-tight get-outta debt-or-else budget) we decided to go even MORE local than a CSA. How’s that, you ask? Well, there is really nothing more local than our own backyard. For less than we’d spend on a CSA, we can have our apple tree out front pruned for better production and build 3 new raised beds in the backyard. I’m not saying this is a good choice for everyone – I think CSA’s are wonderful, and I still want to join one someday. I also don’t think we can meet all our produce needs from the size of backyard garden that we want to plant, but I think it will be a substantial part of our diet.
So, to get started, I sent away my soil for a routine and metals test through my state Extension Service. By the end of the month, beds should be framed up and horse manure from the neighboring farm laid down to mellow.
I went ahead and ordered seeds for cool-weather veggies from Pinetree Seeds. Coming up at the Johnson backyard produce stand will be (God willing!):
– English peas – to be grown up the side of the dog kennel in the new vine crop bed!
– Sugar snap peas
– Chard
– Spinach
– Kale
– Broccoli
– Herbs
– Carrots
– Turnips
That’s just for the spring planting and harvest. It will be interesting to see how it goes when gardening moves from purely hobby to something a bit more….you’ll have to stay tuned for all the trials and triumphs of eating very local.


6 responses to “On Local Food

  1. Soil testing is cool!!! I know, as an Extension Agent I have to say that, right? I am starting a garden this summer as well, two years of learning how Montana differs from Virginia hopefully will pan out! I am growing lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, peppers, and tobacco (I just miss the plants and the smell of them curing)! Good luck.

  2. Awesome Laura! We are also expanding our garden this year, I haven’t had much luck with spring and fall production, but this past summer we had a great crop of beans, tomatoes and peppers.

  3. Uh, I gotta ask this question… just like all politics are local… isn’t all eating local?

    Actually its a pretty cool idea. Hurray for lowering your carbon footprint. Besides being good for you, no pesticides or chem. fertilizers, the food just plain tastes better.

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