One year ago K & I moved here to Northern Virginia not knowing the area or anybody here. I knew that this was going to be hard but it was the best way for me to make enough to provide for a good life for K and give me the career satisfaction that I had given up to stay at home for her 1st year. The scariest thing about this move was the though ow what I would have to give up in order to make things work for us. These fears included giving up on things like health eating when I worked long hours, a orderly house with an infant/toddler and no one else to help clean up, a rural setting as I choose a short commute in order to maximize the little time I would have at home, and a social life since I knew nobody within 3 states.
I had the good fortune to grow up in varying degrees of rural locals but always in proximity to a garden and the Pacific ocean and now I was willingly locating myself near neither of those things. So one of the first things I did when I was house hunting was scope out the local farmers market web pages . OK, so there are an abundance of local producers and several nearby farmers markets. This was good for my impending life as an overworked, single mom. Next I began to research the concept of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA, something I had only briefly heard of while browsing the stalls at my local Northern California Farmers Market but knew nothing about.
From http://www.localharvest.org/csa/ I learned that: "A CSA, (for Community Supported Agriculture) is a way for the food buying public to create a relationship with a farm and to receive a weekly basket of produce. By making a financial commitment to a farm, people become "members" (or "shareholders," or "subscribers") of the CSA. Most CSA farmers prefer that members pay for the season up-front, but some farmers will accept weekly or monthly payments. Some CSAs also require that members work a small number of hours on the farm during the growing season. "
Much to my surprise Northern Virgina, and good lands on the other side of the Potomac in Maryland, support a good number of CSA Farms. I found several different styles of CSA nearby. Some would deliver to your door at a scheduled day/time, others brought your share to a central location like a farmers market for your to pick up, and a few allowed you to pick up your share at the farm, usually offereing other activities there as well. While becoming a CSA shareholder did not seem immediately attracitve to my budget or my practical sensebilities, it appealed to my ideological side and seemed to be one answer to my dream of reclaiming my some sense of connection to nature and the land that I was lacking. My biggest fear was that I would receive all kinds of good produce but not have the time, skill, know-how or energy to use it all.