Monday, September 28, 2009

CSA: It's still just for rich, old or single people, apparently.

I just had a parenting moment.

But first, some context:
CSA stands for community supported agriculture. Basically you kind of "subscribe" to a small local farm and eat seasonally. I am really interested in trying this, especially because we have kids and why not teach them what actually grows each season in SoAz? Not to mention the environmental payoff, etc.

We went to an informational meeting on CSA at Elle tonight. I had to take the kids because Rich is busy. We walked in and they were holding the meeting in this long room with a long table set up. Wine bottles were in racks up and down every wall. Napkins were still neatly folded, and there was a pristine stack of polenta cubes way down the table. The all-adult and mostly middle-aged female group blinked at me. Waitstaff was bringing out bread, olive oil, other snacks. I had prepared the kids that it was a grown up meeting, but we had rushed out without toys, books, etc. because the meeting was at 6:00 and we had just scarfed dinner. Nobody (and I mean nobody) (No, wait, one person helped us get a chair for G.) made a move to pass any bread down, engage the kids, or even make sure we had enough chairs.

Immediately (and I mean immediately) G. asked what he could do that was fun. Olivia was quiet at first but then got down off my lap. G. tried teaching her to count wine bottles, but that was too loud (and had my nerves on edge). They talked and wandered into the lobby area and started jumping around the bottles of wine on the walls. The guy from Agua Linda farms was talking about the whole CSA idea and how popular it was getting and basically it's function for farms and for consumers. Nobody made a move toward eating the food, so I felt embarrassed to reach halfway down the table for bread for the kids or to ask for someone to pass some. Eventually, I couldn't focus on what the man was saying anymore and I walked out in tears. G. then decided to sit in the seat at the table instead of come with me. I had to actually go back for him because he let us leave-- all the way out to the parking lot. I chewed out the kids all the way down the block & sent them to their rooms. I was totally embarrassed and frustrated.

But here's the rub. Whose idea was it to have this meeting in an elegant restaurant with absolutely no effort made to accommodate kids? Yes, it was elegant and we got to feel very special with gourmet hors d'ouvres and wine on the walls. But here's a question: Shouldn't CSA be marketed to FOLKS WITH FAMILIES WHO CONSUME A LOT OF GROCERIES & HAVE GROWING KIDS? WHY HOLD A MEETING IN A ROOM FULL OF WINE BOTTLES? And then the farmers' market on Fridays doesn't start until 8:00, when most of us family folks are well on our way to work.

I am half mortified with embarrassment for even trying to take my kids to that meeting and half outraged. So much for learning about how we can participate in CSA. That's okay, though. Apparently we aren't their target market, anyway. We're supposed to shop at big box stores and buy cereal and fruit snacks that are half mercury tainted corn syrup. We buy tomatoes from Mexico in large amounts at Costco. We buy apple juice from China when it's on sale from Target. Maybe one day, when I can pay for a babysitter for 45 minutes on a weeknight or when I am old and my kids play video games in their rooms and ignore me, then I can enjoy the luxury of locally grown, healthy produce.

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