Although Kris Townsend grew up eating relatively healthily, she bemoans the lack of vegetables in her early diet. Now with her purchase of a CSA share, Kris regularly receives an assortment of fresh, local produce for less than she would pay in a grocery store. Kris says she wishes she’d been brought up eating the amount of vegetables she now receives in her CSA. “I just wish I had known more about the importance of greens in your diet,” she says.
Kris has had her CSA for over 10 years and loves the economic and social value that her share provides in addition to its health benefits. While she’s not exactly sure exactly how much money she saves by receiving a CSA, her weekly savings on kale and salad greens alone are significant compared to grocery store prices, she says. Outside of the lower costs provided by her CSA, the local and community-sourced nature of her food is one of Kris’s favorite things about receiving a CSA. “I know where it came from and I know where it was grown. It makes a big difference to know the energy that’s put in,” she says. Since being part of a CSA Kris has “learned a lot about food and the value of it in relation to our bodies, and what it actually does.”
Kris gets a CSA share through Healthy Food for All, “a program to subsidize your CSA share, so basically you only have to pay half for your CSA share,” said Kris. Her access to the fresh, local, and nutritious produce she receives in her share now has a positive impact on her life and diet all year long with her purchase of a winter CSA. “Usually it’s for the summer, but I actually got [the CSA] for one winter also, so I’m hoping that I do it again this year, because I eat a whole lot better when I have the share.”
For people thinking about getting a CSA share, Kris suggests that people start of by sharing a CSA share with a friend, due to the amount of produce that some CSAs provide. She also recommends starting slowly when introducing vegetables into your diet. “Start with green leafy vegetables because they have the most nutrition that’s going to help your body,” she says.
When Kris is not cooking from her CSA, she runs a catering business called Scrumptious Soup, which caters soups, salads and sandwiches. She has also taught a cooking class at Cornell Cooperative Extension focused on cooking vegetables from your CSA. For someone so immersed in cooking healthy, local food, it’s hard to believe that Kris once called herself the “corn chip queen.” Now, she “can’t even eat those corn chips anymore, they make me literally ill.”
Profile by GYGB intern Sarah Paez