Paganism, food and spirituality
Of CSAs and Pagan Community
I finally joined a CSA. CSA stands for community supported agriculture. Effectively, it means that I agree to purchase a certain percentage of a farmer’s crop for a growing season at a specific price. In this case, the season started in May and will end in October or November. The advantage to me is that I will get a variety of fresh vegetables weekly until the CSA finishes. The advantage to the farmers is that they are guaranteed a specific income for their labor. I am sharing their risk because if the weather becomes nasty and the tomatoes rot, they still get paid for their time and effort.
I’ve known about CSAs for 10 years, and despite my obsession with healthy food have never joined one before this. First, I travel, and the weekly pickup would be impossible. Second, I can’t eat sweet peppers. What has changed is that I am not doing the CSA alone, but have a partner. The farm is on her way home from work and she is willing to accommodate both my absences and quirky dietary issues, and it turns out this particular farm has a vegetable exchange policy. We are splitting the share, which should still leave us with a respectable amount of veggies. What pleases me to no end is that my partner is a fellow Pagan.
As a minority religion whose numbers are spread wide, our experience of Pagan community is often something that happens at festivals, and holidays if we are lucky (so it’s a good thing we have a bunch of them). The conversation about bemoaning the challenges we experience around building community is one that I have had often. The issues have been addressed by many other Pagan writers, so I’m not going to detail them here. Where I live in Connecticut, getting people come out for anything at all is challenging. We have all the frenetic energy of New York City without the convenience of proximity. Community is not just who we party and worship with, it is who we depend on to get things done in our day-to-day lives. Our suburban existence drives a wedge of physical distance and psychic exhaustion between us.
Humans evolved living in groups. Women in particular have a “Tend and Befriend” biological imperative, and working together made daily chores less onerous. My CSA partner wants to have a food preserving day because its been a long time since she has canned anything and needs review. She has been advocating for healthy, local food among her co-workers, and has organized a cow pool with far more ease and efficiency than I. Perhaps we can see who else might be interested in that food preserving adventure.
Good food is one of the things that can draw us together.
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