As a student at Linfield, I’ve been reminded to “buy local” almost as often as I’ve been told to turn in papers on time or to be mindful of quiet hours.
Buying local is a theme that appears on T-shirts, fliers and pins and at environmental sustainability seminars. I’ve always supported the idea of purchasing food, clothing and other products from the closest possible source, but it’s never been much of a reality in my everyday life.
I love buying tomatoes and lettuce from summertime farmers markets. My yogurt always comes from a dairy in Springfield, Ore., and I own some handmade bags from local artists.
But the extent of my local buying habits are limited.
When I need to fill a shopping cart with vegetables and other food staples, I normally just head to the produce isles inside WinCo Foods. It’s close, convenient and cheap.
However, during Winter Break, I spent the holidays in Italy visiting family in Rome. We spent a lot of time at the neighborhood farmers market, where I got to know my aunt and uncle’s produce vendor.
Whenever family members would approach him, my uncle would greet them enthusiastically before selecting a bag of his favorite veggies for them and instructing them on how to prepare it all.
After I got home to Oregon, I started looking for a year-round farmers market experience similar to the one I discovered in Rome.
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is my new favorite way to buy local on a regular basis. CSA connects local farmers and community members, providing you with the opportunity to meet and form a relationship with the people who are growing your vegetables.
Through CSA, it’s possible to search for and select a farmer who will deliver fresh boxes of seasonal produce to you throughout most of the year while providing updates about the crops and information about growing techniques.
Subscribing to a farm’s weekly vegetable box delivery not only supports local producers, but it provides you with in-depth information about how your food is being raised, which empowers you as a consumer.
While buying produce through CSA is slightly more expensive than buying from supermarkets, it’s also using your dollars to bid for a practical, sustainable cause and for a relationship with the people who provide you with food.
To search for a CSA-supported farm in McMinnville, visit http://www.ecovian.com/s/mcminnville-or/csa-food-delivery. You can browse through various farm profiles for one that supports your growing philosophies and delivers to an area near you.
Joanna Peterson/Culture editor
Joanna Peterson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.