Noor Cultural Centre
    

Organic Farm: Visit & Volunteer Opportunity

Jul 7th 2012

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Noor has been encouraging our community to sign up for a community supported agriculture (CSA) program.  Specifically, we have been supporting the one at Cutting Veg Organic Farm.

Cutting Veg welcomes volunteers to its farm every week from Sunday-Friday, 7:15 am – 4 pm. Everyone is welcome. Those interested should e-mail catherine.j@thecuttingveg.com to discuss a suitable date/time and to get directions to the farm; rides to the farm can also be arranged.

Noor is currently assessing the level of interest in having Noor (123 Wynford Drive, Don Mills) serve as a pick-up location for next season. If you would like to learn more about this project, please email khadijah.kanji@gmail.com.

What is a CSA?
A CSA is a program in which community members buy shares in a farm’s harvest for a particular season.  Members pay up-front and receive fresh produce, usually on a weekly basis, at a specified location.  The amount of produce received varies depending on the value of the shares purchased and the bounty of the harvest.

Why join a CSA?

1) The Planet
Food production and distribution is the largest industry on Earth, and food transportation accounts for approximately 1/10 of the entire industry’s greenhouse gas emissions.  Greenhouse gases are dangerous because they contribute to climate change – a gradual warming of the planet that will continue to lead to environmental devastation.  Buying produce from a local farm greatly cuts down the environmental costs of food by encouraging us to eat more ‘realistically’ – i.e. in a manner that parallels what is available in our locale throughout the seasons.

2) Health & Wellness
CSA programs do not necessarily offer organic food, but many (including Cutting Veg) do.  Organic food is better for our health because it reduces the amount of inorganic chemicals that enter our bodies.  As well, because the produce is travelling a shorter distance, it retains more of its nutritional value.  Further, participating in a CSA obliges us to move beyond the ‘comfort zone’ of our eating habits by incorporating into our diet fruits and vegetables that wouldn’t typically be a part of it.  This encourages us to learn new recipes, acquire new tastes, and benefit from the nutritional value of a greater variety of produce.

3) Fairness
The people who grow the food we depend upon for our basic survival are some of the most disadvantaged.  Farmers who sell to grocery stores do not receive a fair income for their produce, but do not have the leverage to demand more.  Further, farmers can no longer rely on subsisting off their produce due to economic dynamics that force them to grow mostly corn and wheat, not the variety of fruits and vegetables that make up a healthy diet.  Farmers who sell their produce through a CSA program receive money up-front for their efforts, ensuring they will be able to sustain their farms and themselves throughout the harvest season.  While produce purchased through a CSA is usually not more expensive than food bought from a grocery store, CSA farmers receive a higher share of the income made from selling their goods. By selling directly to consumers, farmers are able to produce a large variety of fruits and vegetables which they can also enjoy; diversity in planting also helps preserve the long-term health of farmland.  As well, by buying locally, we can be more assured of the treatment of farm workers due to our stronger labour laws: although not perfect, and not perfectly enforced, the horror stories of young child workers exposed to farm chemicals are a much less likely possibility here.

4) Reduced Corporate Power
In the corporatized world that we live in, choosing to buy directly from farmers is an important exercise of autonomy.  In general, the kind of power concentration that corporations have means we have fewer political, social, and economic choices and freedoms.

5) Control Over Our Food
Having a personal relationship with the person/people who make our food means that we are that much more connected to it, and that means we are gaining greater control over what we are putting into our bodies.


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