Community Supported Agriculture (CSA for short) shortens the distance from farm to table, benefiting the health of our bodies, our wallets, and the earth. Today, the production and waste of food are some of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, but it is also one of the areas we have the most control over.
CSA members not only receive a weekly abundance of fresh, local food throughout the growing season, they also decrease the number of resources used to transport and produce food – all while supporting their local economy and farmers. With a secure market for their harvest, CSA farmers get to focus on growing great food and caring for the land.
I have struggled connecting with the Jewish community because I have not found myself in it. Joining a Jewish CSA was a great way for me to connect my Jewish identity with things I am passionate about, such as food politics and sustainable living. I am glad that the Jewish community recognizes that food issues are Jewish issues. Thank you for creating a space in which people like me who struggle with connecting to the Jewish community can feel welcome and invited.
While we no longer no longer have an independent CSA program at Hazon, we encourage you to check out the Hazon Seal of Sustainability – a great way to start a CSA as well as other sustainability initiatives at your organization.
Why Join a CSA?
- TASTE: Fresh is more delicious and selling locally allows farmers to choose varieties based on flavor rather than shipping durability.
- HEALTH: The colorful bounty of a CSA share represents a weekly dose of fresh vitamins and minerals.
- COMMUNITY: Members get to know one another through farm visit days and pick-ups. Many people report feeling a greater sense of connection to their neighbors through their CSA.
- LIVING SEASONALLY: The weekly challenge of using a CSA presents an exciting cooking experience, limits food waste, and decreases the amount of money and food wasted.
- LAND STEWARDSHIP: Many CSA farms use organic and sustainable land management practices to naturally maximize the harvest they can produce from their land.
- KEEPING IT LOCAL: Members support their local economy by keeping their food dollars nearby.
CSA is a perfect match for the Jewish community because it provides the opportunity to:
- Put Jewish purchasing power behind local family farms.
- Bring healthy, locally-grown food into Jewish homes.
- Create engaging, high-quality adult and family Jewish education around food and agriculture.
- Build a cadre of volunteer leaders in the Jewish community.
- Spur Jewish people to re-examine what it means for food to be kosher – “fit” for us as well as for the community and the earth.
- Work towards a better understanding of just food systems, informed by the Jewish agricultural mitzvot of Pe’ah, Leket, Shekecha and increasing access to healthy food.
Hazon CSA: Transforming the Jewish Community
Hazon’s CSA program was the first ongoing effort in the American Jewish community to support local, sustainable agriculture. Founded in 2004, our CSA program has supported, launched, and inspired over 60 CSAs in the US, Canada, and Israel, helping the Jewish community to put more than $5 million dollars behind sustainable agriculture. We also have empowered Jewish institutions such as synagogues and JCCs to create innovative educational programming around the intersections of Jewish tradition and contemporary food and environmental issues.
There are two main reasons that we founded Hazon CSA:
First, we care deeply about supporting sustainable agriculture and local farmers.
CSA members have provided millions of dollars to local farmers over the last decade. In addition to providing people with the opportunity to purchase and eat local, organic produce, Hazon CSAs helps to protect land from development and urban sprawl by supporting the work of small farmers.
Second, we are interested in creating vibrant Jewish communities and educational opportunities.
Hazon CSA offers a powerful and unique way to foster pluralism and inter-generational connections in the Jewish community. It is an innovative educational platform, which allows members to explore contemporary food issues from a Jewish perspective. The Jewish tradition has a long history of thinking about what is kosher (literally, “fit”) for us to eat. Hazon CSA offers a chance to re-examine and potentially redefine what it means for food to be “fit” – not only for us, but for the community and the earth as well.
The CSA inspired us to cook much more often and to eat more healthfully on a regular basis. Knowing where our food comes from feels good and makes it all the more enjoyable. Knowing that we are supporting an organic farm also adds greatly to our enjoyment of the food.