Eating Local Makes a Difference: Here’s Why

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Eating Local Makes a Difference: Here’s Why

While our day to day work focuses on greening the built environment, many staff at USGBC extend those principles of sustainability into their daily lives. From shopping and commuting to buying groceries, all of us make choices that affect the environment. One way to make a difference in the community is buying from your local farmers and participating in a CSA.

What is a CSA?
A CSA stands for community-supported agriculture. CSAs help the community by providing fresh, local and seasonal produce to consumers. CSAs also help farmers by guaranteeing a market for their products, eliminating the guesswork from marketing, and reducing waste. Shareholders subscribe for up to three, seven-week plans: spring, summer and fall.

Where and who does the food come from?
Our neighbors at RTKL have invited our team to participate in their CSA subscription. Orchard Country Produce is a family-owned and operated, sustainable fruit and vegetable farm in Cumberland County, Pa., near the Appalachian foothills. Learn more about the family who runs the farm.

What kinds of fresh produce are typically delivered?
In the spring, there is typically asparagus, shallots, spring onions, radishes, strawberries, lettuce mix, spinach, rhubarb and apples. During the summer, we should see blueberries, peaches, cabbage, cucumbers, peppers, honey, sweet onions, new red potatoes and Swiss chard.

What are the size options for shares?
There are three sizes of shares offered, they are: full shares (ideal for families of four or more), half shares (perfect for couples or families of three) and personal shares (best for one-person households).

We asked some of the participants to tell us a little bit about their CSA experience:

I have been using CSAs for four years in a row now. I am in love with this whole idea of paying my money directly to the farmers in my area. I love the quality of all the produce AND I get so much for my money—it’s a truly win-win situation! I enjoy all the greens that we receive on a weekly basis. The CSA membership forces me to eat well because if I don’t eat all the veggies that I got during the week they will go bad. My general go-to recipe: sautee greens in a pan, add a drop of sesame oil, add chopped garlic, and drizzle with lemon juice. 
-Daria Gelman, USGBC

My boyfriend made this recipe last night with the beets we got in the CSA box. We almost never buy beets, so we’ve been a little at a loss for what to do with them, but the dish was delicious!
-Anisa Baldwin-Metzger, USGBC

I really enjoy participating in the CSA! Every week I get different varieties of fresh produce, so I’ve learned how to use new things like kohlrabi. I try to eat food that is local and in-season, and I like knowing where my food comes from. I’m also happy that my money is supporting local farmers who are doing great things. The cost is comparable to, or less than, what I spend at the grocery store so it’s a win-win.
-Theresa Backhus, USGBC

I think this is a really great opportunity to get farm fresh produce delivered right to our office, support a local farm, and learn about produce you might not be familiar with!
-Kathleen Mannis, RTKL, CSA liaison


If you’re looking for ways to eat healthy, expand your menu in the kitchen and support your local farmers in the process, check out a CSA near you.

And don’t forget to check out the most recent Orchard Country Produce CSA we received!


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