Sat, 5 September 2009
What is Retail Supported Agriculture?
As far as the North American local food movement is concerned, it's not a concept that has yet been coined in any notable way. The Kootenay Grain CSA (community supported agriculture) project located in the Kootenay region of British Columbia is now changing that.
Community Supported Agriculture is most often a model exclusively serving individual eaters (shareholders), whereby the eater invests in their food at the beginning of the season, providing the farmer with much-needed revenues up front when expenses are highest. The CSA model guarantees the farmer a market and secures the eater with whatever the harvest unearths. While eaters might not be used to such an idea, it's not a stretch for most eaters to commit to such a model. Retailers on the other hand are in a different position as the volumes used by bakeries, grocers and restaurants are substantially higher, requiring a much more significant investment. At the April 2009 meeting of the Kootenay Grain CSA, farmers and steering committee members discussed how businesses might be incorporated into the CSA project and the discussion that ensued was fascinating to say the least. Could this mark the beginning of a new model? Deconstructing Dinner sat in on the meeting to find out.
When shareholders in Canada's first CSA for grain received over 80 pounds of five varieties of whole grains in late 2008, many were left wondering what to do with it all. In comes Lorraine Carlstrom, a Nelson, B.C., resident who saw an opportunity to share her experience and create some part-time employment at the same time. Lorraine offered a series of workshops to CSA shareholders and on this episode, we listen in on a class on the ins and outs of sprouting grain. As Lorraine points out, sprouting grain has significant health benefits.
Lorraine Carlstrom, Chapter Leader, Weston A. Price Foundation (Nelson, BC) - Lorraine is a member of the Kootenay Grain CSA and a chapter leader of the Weston A. Price Foundation - a nonprofit, charity founded in 1999 to disseminate the research of nutrition pioneer Dr. Weston Price, whose studies of isolated non-industrialized peoples established parameters of human health and identified characteristics of what he saw as optimum human diets. Dr. Price's research sought to demonstrate that humans achieve perfect physical form and perfect health generation when they consume nutrient-dense whole foods. The Foundation is dedicated to restoring nutrient-dense foods to the human diet through education, research and activism.
Matt Lowe, co-founder, Kootenay Grain CSA (Nelson, BC)