Elizabeth Henderson, co-author of Sharing the Harvest: A Citizen’s Guide to Community Supported Agriculture, defines Community Supported Agriculture thusly:
Community Supported Agriculture is a connection between a nearby farmer and the people who eat the food that the farmer produces. Robyn Van En summed it up as “food producers + food consumers + annual commitment to one another = CSA and untold possibilities.” The essence of the relationship is the mutual commitment: The farm feeds the people; the people support the farm and share the inherent risks and potential bounty. Doesn’t sound like anything very new—for most of human history, people have been connected with the land that fed them. Growing (or hunting and gathering) food somewhere nearby is basic to human existence, as basic as breathing, drinking, and sexual reproduction. If this basic connection breaks down, there is sure to be trouble.
In Berkeley, California, the fine folks at Three Stone Hearth are taking it one step further: a subscription-based membership for local prepared foods. Members enjoy the virtues of eating local, organic produce combined with the convenience of having someone else cook it for them. Subscribers have even organized car pools to minimize their carbon footprints, and the takeout containers are glass, with a refundable deposit.
Bringing “native” nutrition and local food together
Leave it to Berkeley, California, home of Alice Waters and Chez Panisse and an active food culture, to be the seed bed for Three Stone Hearth. In a way Three Stone’s “communal kitchen” throws back to some great hippy traditions. But while Three Stone Hearth is a great source of nutritious ready-to-eat meals and foods for families or anyone else with less time to spend in the kitchen then they may like, it may seem to some like a radical departure.
Three Heath founders have lots of traditional food preparation experience, and they are extremely conscientious with their sourcing of local and sustainable ingredients. They also follow nutritional guidelines gathered together from around the world by dentist Dr. Weston Price and others. Price’s findings have led to ideas that pretty much fly in the face of traditional nutritional guidelines, including a liberal use of traditional fats (not just dairy like butter, but also animal fats such as lard). Also, Three Stone Hearth sells raw, unpasteurized milk and cream (legal to sell in California and some other states), lacto-fermented sauerkrauts and other krauts, and prepared foods with pasture-fed beef, pork, chicken and eggs.
Check out Three Stone Hearth’s menu. It changes weekly.
Photo courtesy Treehugger.com.