Acton Eats: Choosing a CSA

Part 2 of 2

In part one of this series, I talked a little about the basics of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), a form of partnership where you can purchase a share in a local farm in exchange for a portion of the harvest. My wife and I have been long-time CSA members, first at Meadow Brook Farm (now Siena Farms), and currently at Lindentree Farm.

In this post, I'll discuss some of the questions you might want to ask when choosing a CSA. And if you are thinking of joining a CSA, now is the time, as many farms are in the process of signing up members for 2010.

Acton Eats: What is Community Supported Agriculture?

Part 1 of 2

The snow is falling as I begin this blog entry, but I'm already thinking of spring. For one thing, the fruits of last fall's harvest are almost gone. The only fresh vegetables I have left are one lonely butternut squash and a few heads of garlic. I also have a dozen Ziploc bags of last year's produce in the freezer, but I know these, too, will soon be gone.

I'm sure some of my friends and family members are studying the seed catalogs and web sites, planning what crops to plant in their backyards this spring.

For those of us who crave fresh vegetables, but lack the space, the time, the skill, or the patience to grow their own gardens, there is an alternative. And that is the phenomenon known as Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA, for short. When you belong to a CSA, you pay a set fee at the start of the year for a weekly share of produce throughout the growing season, roughly from the first of June to the first of November.

A Fighting Chance against the MBTA's Station Plan

Actonians are fighters. In the spring of 1775, they rose up in opposition against British rule and, along with hundreds of citizens from surrounding towns, fought back formidable enemy.

The stakes surrounding the South Acton Train Station redesign are not nearly so high, but I'm struck, as the tiniest hints of spring poke out of the ground in 2010, with the similarity of the fight – the tenacity of those who simply will not accept that the MBTA has the final say in a matter that impacts our every day lives.

Revenue versus Overhead

When President Obama says that his economic stimulus package is creating jobs, that is true. Several million jobs were created or saved by that spending.

When Senator Brown says that no jobs were created, he is also speaking a truth. If you create or save 2 million jobs here, but you lose 3 million jobs there, then your net is a loss of 1 million jobs.

But both politicians miss the point. It is very important what type of jobs you create (or save). We need to grow jobs that provide income, not expense. Let me explain.

Tim for Trouble

I am a believer in the two-party system of government. This belief was formed during a long-ago political science class which proposed the premise that in order to be legitimate, elected officials had to receive over 50% of the vote. This bedrock principle could be violated when you have a viable third-party candidate and the system allows someone to win when they have a plurality but not a majority. Electing candidates without majority support is fraught with danger for democracy.

South Acton Station – A NIMBY Issue or Not?

I have become an overnight activist. It was never my intent, but the changes proposed at the South Acton train station don't allow me to sit quietly on the sidelines. I send emails; I organize; I blog; I collect petition signatures; I talk with everyone who will listen. And as I speak with residents and commuters from surrounding towns, I am struck by the misconceptions that exist about the South Acton Train Station Design controversy, one of them being that this is being brought on a bunch of neighbors crying, "Not in my backyard!"

Gov. Patrick announces new Auto Buying Initiative

April 1, 2010

(BOSTON) - Gov. Deval Patrick, citing the rising cost of automobile ownership in the Bay State, has announced a new program to allow "every working family access to a brand new vehicle at a reasonable cost."

Citing his recent decision last February 11 to cap rising health insurance premiums for small business, Patrick said this is the next logical step. "Getting to work is a right that every working family has. And we need to get our citizens back to work. If having a new car is necessary to achieve that goal, then I'm all for it."

What are you doing here?

People have asked me: what's a nice liberal environmentalist like you doing in a place like the Acton Forum?

I respond that I am happy to be called an environmentalist, but I have no idea if I am a liberal or not.

Can we reduce Acton's labor costs?

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has entered into a Faustian bargain with the public-sector employee unions, and that decision is going to cost taxpayers in Acton (and around the Commonwealth) a bundle.

State law gives public employees the right to negotiate their own union contracts so long as they agree not to strike. (Introduction to the law is here: The full explanation is here:

South Acton Station Redesign -- Site Walk with the MBTA -- January 30, 1 PM

On Saturday, January 30 at 1:00 PM, the South Acton Train Station Advisory Committee (SATSAC) and Senator Jamie Eldridge will host an onsite visit at the South Acton train station with representatives of the MBTA, Acton residents and commuters to discuss, in context, the public's concerns with the MBTA's proposed station reconstruction.

Some readers will recall that Special Town Meeting this past June passed an article supporting the SATSAC's efforts to influence the MBTA's design for a station that, once their trucks and bulldozers have gone, we will live with for years to come.