About a year ago, my friend Briana sent me a link to an interesting proposal. She knew I was an active bread baker (and still am, although my production has slowed with the hot summer months) and she felt I would be interested in the Urban Grains Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) for grain. The Vancouver Grain CSA started by Martin and Ayla Twigg is simple – spurned on by the ever-popular 100 Mile Diet, Martin and Ayla researched, found, and planned a way to live in Vancouver and eat local grain. I was intrigued, signed up for the mailing list, and as a result of signing up early, was one of the very lucky folks to be offered a share in April. I eagerly sent in my cheque and have been waiting patiently ever since while Martin and Ayla post pictures and other teasers along the way on the website.
Community Supported Agriculture isn’t new. Basically, the shareholders are the bank. We pay ahead of time, and our investment provides enough money to plant, grow, harvest, and process the grain and we should end up with 20kg of grain – bagged in three different varieties. A very successful CSA was started in Creston a few years ago and the concept has been practised on smaller scales for decades within groups of neighbours. And it isn’t without risk – rain or other factors could have ruined our crop and we could have technically received nothing for our investment. At one point, I was holding my breath worried about the triticale. And because grain isn’t generally something that is commonly grown for human consumption here in the the Greater Vancouver / Fraser Valley area – most of the grain we can buy at the store comes from places far away – it was through the willingness of the farmer to try it out that the project has succeeded.
Our grain CSA has changed since its inception – Martin and Ayla have made the difficult and personal decision to move to the East Coast, and a new person, Chris, is co-ordinating the efforts. It’s been an exciting and fun journey to watch and wait for the harvest.
This past weekend, I got the email I was waiting for. My grain is ready. I’m so excited to go and pick it up Saturday I can hardly sleep. I know I shouldn’t be this excited over some bags of grain, but it thrills me – grain grown here that I can bake into loaves of bread for my family. It encourages me to continue to find alternative ways to eat without buying from Super Big Grocery Store X. It makes me feel like I have control over the food I put inside our bodies. And quite frankly, it’s like Christmas in September.
Images courtesy of www.urbangrains.ca