For many, part of living sustainably is creating a sense of community.
It’s not just a lifestyle; it’s a movement. It’s a collective approach to make the world a better place and that doesn’t just stop with environmental steps.
Let’s take a look at three fun ways to give back, live sustainably, and enjoy a simpler lifestyle … within your community.
Join a CSA
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Essentially, CSA members buy shares of a farm and receive the benefits. When you buy a share, the benefits include whatever the farm produces.
The benefit is that the farmer receives money in the off-season, when they need it to get ready for the growing season. The downside is that, if the season goes poorly, the CSA members take a risk and might not get as much back.
Some farms focus solely on growing produce.
You’ll receive weekly bundles of lettuce, onions, and tomatoes in the summer months, and squash and dark leafy greens in the fall – whatever grows well in your area. Other farms might sell shares of the livestock they have on the farm.
You might get eggs from chickens, milk from goats, or meat from a cow at the end of the year.
Some farms sell partial shares which are good for small families. Whole shares might provide enough weekly produce to feed a large family or multiple families. CSAs are fun because it creates a community. Everyone is welcomed to pitch in at the farm, though you don’t have to.
You create a routine of visiting the farm and picking up your fresh organic produce. They’re great for the local economy and excellent for the environment as most CSAs are organic farms. Additionally, you’re not buying produce that had to be shipped from another country to your supermarket, so you’re cutting back on your carbon footprint.
Join a Food Co-Op
A food co-op or cooperative is an organized grocery store. Members help decide what items are carried in the store and where they come from. In exchange they also get reduced prices. Most often, items in the market come from local farmers and local companies.
You have the ability to buy materials in bulk and to save money. Co-operatives can be fun because you’re part of a community of decision makers.
Grow a Community Garden
Another option to enjoy a simpler lifestyle while giving back is to participate or start a community garden. This type of initiative works well in suburban or urban environments where green space may be limited.
Find a plot of land, get permission from the city, and then invite others to participate in the tending of the garden. Those who help out and give their time are able to enjoy the fruits of their labors. It’s also a great way to get children involved in the growing process and to help them understand how plants grow and how food is produced.
Finally, if all of these ideas are a bit too time consuming or they’re unavailable in your area, consider creating a weekly outing to your local farmer’s market. You can enjoy the time outside with your friends and family and support local farmers at the same time. And you just can’t beat the flavor and nutrition of locally-grown produce.0