On Earth As it is in Austin.


This just in from The Green Guide

The Johnsons are high school sweethearts…Their 20-acre farm is located just east of downtown Austin near the Colorado River. The soil is "very deep and fertile" and Brenton says proudly that it is "some of the best land around for farming." This January is the first harvest season for the Johnsons on their new farm.

The started by selling the produce that they grew in their 3,000 square foot backyard garden. At the time they lived very near the Austin Farmers Market, and would harvest fresh lettuce, tomatoes, basil, peppers and herbs and a few minutes later be selling it in the market….

Now, what’s not to like about a couple of high school sweethearts selling organic produce out of their backyard?  And what is it about Austin that inspires such behavior?

The Johnsons run a community-supported agriculture (CSA) farm in Austin, and if you’re not familiar with the concept, maybe 2007 is the year to give it a try.  You pay a subscription fee up front and get a share of the farm’s harvest.  That way, the farmer gets some cash early in the season rather than having to wait until the harvest, and you get to eat farm-fresh, seasonal veggies and look the people who grew them right in the eye. 

I belonged to a CSA for many years, and learned so much from the experience of eating seasonally–and from eating whatever the farm was able to produce that week!  The question wasn’t, "What do you want for dinner?" Instead, it was, "We’ve got potatoes, leeks, and green onions.  What should we make?"  You share in both the farmer’s risks and rewards:  there might be no strawberries one year, but a surplus of tomatoes.  If cabbage lopers ate holes in the cabbage, they’ll stick a note in your box explaining the situation.  This is farming, folks!

Has anyone else joined a CSA?  If you’re looking for one in your area, start here.


  1. I just joined a CSA last month…I’m really enjoying having a nice variety of food to pick from when menu planning. In some ways, after years of planning and then buying it is more fun to see what we get and then plan! And I feel good about eating locally grown, organic food that is delivered to my door.

  2. Every yr I make NY’s resolutions. For some reason I didn’t do it this year (other than a vague resolve to cut back on reading/listening to news). The CSA idea sounds like such a good idea that I’m going to make it a goal for 2007. Thanks for the post and the idea and the link…

    …and BTW, thanks to the GardenRanters and their friends for all the interesting & useful talk in 2006.

  3. I’m a member of Fresh & Local CSA (http://www.freshandlocalcsa.com), which delivers veg from Shepherdstown, WV, to the Washington, DC area — and I blog about the experience of getting a random weekly splurge of local organic vegetables on “Vegetables for Breakfast,” blogged about earlier here on the Rant when I spoke to the DC Science Writers Association. A CSA will up your intake of vegetables, give you more flavor, keep the land sustained, and help you know where your food really comes from. (And gardeners, you get chances to help with planting and harvesting on the farm, too.) You’ll find more research, reporting and recipes for CSA users on my blog at http://vegetablesforbreakfast.blogspot.com!

  4. I am a part of an Austin CSA also- Natural Springs Garden. Check em out! Everyone should look into joining their local Community Supported Agriculture, they are just so beneficial to the local economy, community and best of all, our HEALTH!

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