I used to work at a domestic violence and sexual assault advocacy agency. I had the great pleasure of working with dozens of selfless volunteers who were thoughtful and caring. I was regularly inspired by their good hearts. They inspired me in a variety of ways. One of my favorites referred me to The Produce Box. The Produce Box is a regional organization that coordinates with local farmers to deliver fresh, homegrown produce door-to-door each week. It’s sort of like a CSA, but instead of getting produce from only one farm, it’s a combination. They have a number of box sizes and categories. We get The Harvest Box every week, which is perfect for a family of 2 that eats a lot of vegetables or a family of 4 that eats some vegetables. It’s packed full of fruits, cucumbers, zucchini in the summer – even personal watermelons! In the fall it’s full of sweet potatoes and fun squashes. It gets a little sparse in the winter which gets frustrating because the price doesn’t change. But after 2 years of receiving the box – I understand why. This expectation that Americans have that we should be able to eat strawberries whenever we want is destroying our environment and devastating local and international agricultural communities. We’re forcing the earth and the people who cultivate it to do something unnatural – even impossible, necessitating the use of harmful pesticides and artificial preservatives to ship produce halfway around the world. Now I’ll admit that we supplement our Produce Box with trips to the grocery store in the winter but I have a new appreciation for buying in-season.
I also love supporting the local economy and North Carolina farmers with my grocery budget. The whole year is worth it for peach season alone. It’s a little pricier than your local grocer – maybe a few (5?) dollars a week, but you can’t beat the home delivery! Every Thursday when I come home from work there’s a cooler of fresh produce on my doorstep and it’s always fun to open it up and see what’s inside. It helps us keep our meals interesting too. We have learned about a lot of new vegetables we otherwise wouldn’t have tried! Thank you Produce Box!
Consider spending some of your grocery money with a farmer when you can. Your grocery store won’t notice your missing dollars but the farmer surely will appreciate the added income.