Archive for February 2015 | Monthly archive page

2015 DC CSA Guide


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By Tracy Brinkerhoff

With DC temperatures in the single digits, I’m going to guess that your search history includes “hot chocolate recipes” and “when does House of Cards return?” instead of “local organic tomatoes” or “what to do with kohlrabi.” As a distraction from the endless winter, I am here to remind you that it’s already time to sign up for or renew your CSA subscription for the 2015 season!

Are you wondering what CSA stands for? Have you considered joining one in the past but have outstanding questions or reservations? If so, check out last year’s post on the ins and outs of CSAs.

Once you’ve made the decision to broaden your culinary skills, support your local economy, and enjoy the benefits of local, organic vegetables, the next step can be overwhelming: choosing which CSA to join.

CSA2We have the wonderful problem of living in a region with a variety of CSA options. I suggest that you start by addressing your biggest challenge or reservation to participating in a CSA. For example, if you’re most concerned about finding time to pick up your shares, choose a CSA with convenient pick up locations near your home or office. If you worry your culinary skills aren’t up to par, choose a CSA that provides weekly recipes and tips for handling your veggies. If the price tag is your biggest concern, choose a CSA with a flexible payment plan or a workshare option.

To help you further narrow down the plethora of options available to DC area residents, I’ve highlighted a few stellar CSAs. If you belong to a CSA that wasn’t mentioned in this post, please comment below and be sure to include what makes your CSA great!

Maximum Flexibility

Star Hollow Farm, located in Southern PA, runs a year-round CSA with bi-weekly Saturday pickups at the Adams Morgan Farmer’s Market. This CSA is run through an online store; members deposit money upfront in increments of $300 and shop online the Wednesday before a Saturday pick-up. If you’re looking for the traditional uncertainty of CSA, they offer a “surprise box,” but also make it easy to customize your order with add-ons. Star Hollow Farm starts you off with a trial order and does require one two-hour volunteer shift (in DC) per year. They are currently accepting new members!

Best Accompanying Blog

Clagett Farms, located in Upper Marlboro, MD, is offering full shares and half shares for the 2015 season. This CSA is affiliated with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and has a pick up location in Dupont Circle. What really makes Clagett Farms stand out is the blog. Updated weekly, it includes volunteer opportunities on the farm, recipe ideas, predictions for upcoming shares, tips on storing, canning, and freezing veggies; and photos and Instagram posts from CSA members.


Share for One

Orchard County Produce, located in Gardners, PA, offers a personal share option. The share contains five total items, including one fruit. The CSA season is divided into three seven-week blocks of time: spring, summer, and fall. A personal box runs $95 for seven weeks, which comes out to under $14 per share.

For the Carnivores

Evensong Farm, located in Sharpsburg, MD, has developed a non-traditional CSA system. By depositing a minimum of $250 into your account during the month of March, you receive a 10% discount on all Evensong purchases made at their locations in Penn Quarter and Silver Spring and a 15% discount at the farm. The buyers club system follows the upfront payment principle of a CSA, but allows for total customization of Evensong products such as pork, chicken, beef, eggs, and a limited amount of herbs and vegetables. This CSA is also woman-owned and operated!

For the Travelers

Walnut Springs Produce, located in Southern PA, lets you pick five, 10, or 20 weeks out of their 25 week season to receive shares. They also provide the flexibility of receiving five or eight units of produce each week and price accordingly. This CSA would be perfect for those who can’t commit to a weekly or bi-weekly share.

If You’re Eager to Get Started

Glen’s Garden Market, a grocery store and restaurant, offers a 10 week Spring CSA with produce from Chesapeake Bay farmers that begins April 1st. You can pick up your two-person sized share anytime after 2pm on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday from their location in Dupont Circle. Grab a sandwich and a six-pack of your favorite IPA while you’re there!

I recommend signing up for your CSA subscription by mid-March because shares can sell out! And while you’re dreaming of the summer squash and arugula in your future: House of Cards returns February 27th.

Tracy Brinkerhoff, a recent graduate of The College of William & Mary, is a healthcare consultant, environmentalist, feminist, and aspiring yogi.

posted by | Comments Off on Bringing Together Minorities and the Environment at Home

By DC EcoWoman Robin Garcia

Have you ever noticed the shocking lack of minorities in science and environmental fields? While environmental issues such as climate change, air pollution, and access to clean water are of growing concern, many may not be aware that minority groups are disproportionately susceptible to such issues. A recent study in the Public Library of Science determined that nitrogen dioxide concentrations are higher in minority communities than white communities, even when the data are controlled for income. Higher air pollution is correlated with an increase in asthma and heart disease cases. One reason for the differences between communities may be that highways, landfills, and factories decrease nearby property value. Those who cannot afford to leave the area (who also tend to be minorities) stay and are subject to the environmental and health consequences.

Despite these statistics, minority groups are also underrepresented in environmental fields.  A study by the Green 2.0 Initiative found that people of color continue to make up less than 16% of employees working on environmental issues in government agencies, foundations, and NGOs. This “green ceiling” has continued for decades despite the fact that minorities represent over 30% of the US population and are more likely than white citizens to support environmental causes.

As an African-American and Hispanic female with a background in marine biology, I am highly aware that I am one of few “like me” in my field. However, the resources I had growing up in DC helped me develop my passion and gave me confidence to move through a field lacking in diversity. The best part is that many of the resources I had are accessible to everyone, regardless of income. The more that minorities are given opportunities to learn about the environment, the more empowered they will be to become active in their communities, and the more that minority children will view environmental careers as a possibility.

The District – A World of Opportunities

Like many children in minority families, I grew up supported by a single mother and other family members. From a young age, I expressed an interest in science, and my family fed my curiosity. Luckily, many nature and science attractions in DC are free! I spent many weekends at the Smithsonian museums, visiting the Museum of Natural History, the Air and Space Museum, and the National Zoo. When it was feasible, we took small vacations to Ocean City and Shenandoah National Park. The beach and the mountains may not be feasible for lower-income families, but Rock Creek Park is a free and local way to explore nature. While my comfort in the great outdoors still has its limits, I am far more comfortable with nature than many minority and city children that I have encountered.

Other options for free and low-cost environmental fun in DC include the Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens, the US National Arboretum, the US Botanic Garden, the District Department of the Environment, and the District Department of Parks and Recreation.

Bringing the Message Home

My family also ensured that my home environment was supportive of my interests. Most of the TV shows that I watched as a small child were on public televsion, which does not require paying for cable. In fact, I still enjoy watching PBS today (and for more than my weekly fix of Downton Abbey!) My mother was also a huge fan of the DC Public Library system. As a high school student, the library became a valuable resource as I honed my reading skills and explored different topics in science. Another wonderful feature of public libraries is free access to computers and the internet, and low-cost printing options. I still use the computers at libraries since I currently don’t use printers often enough to justify buying one for my home.

The most important aspect of my upbringing is that I was never told “no”. I did not grow up with any concept that my race or gender somehow made me unqualified for a career in science. My strong foundation at home set the tone for my education. This was extremely important since, as you can imagine, my race became painfully obvious as I advanced through my education. By the time I reached graduate school, I was the only person of color in my entire program. My confidence allowed me to view myself in terms of my academic abilities instead of the color of my skin.

It is still an uphill battle to succeed as a minority in environmental fields. Yet the resources are available for young people of color in DC, regardless of their financial background. These are the people that can break the “green ceiling” and represent the entire population in the fight for environmental and human health.

Robin Garcia is an Aquatic Specialist working with Charles River Laboratories. She has a Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology from the University of Miami, and a Master of Science in Marine Biology with a concentration in aquatic toxicology from the College of Charleston. She’s also on the DC EcoWomen Executive Board.