Last night we watched The Real Dirt on Farmer John, the first sad then joyful story of an Illinois farmer who is forced through a series of misfortunes to reinvent both himself and his farm. This is a family movie with a wholesome and uplifting message, although occasional interspersed footage of outlandishly dressed Farmer John and friends made me think at first that I'd soon be explaining alternative lifestyles to my son. However, by the time the movie ends you understand that John is just exploring art, culture, and belief. Some explorations caught on film tend to biodynamic extremes, which even he admits are founded in mysticism.
WARNING: SPOILER AHEAD IN ITALICS
The movie ends on a note of triumph, as we see the current incarnation of John's farm as a large and prosperous community supported farm, delivering boxes of fresh organic food to urban "subscribers".
The movie inspired me to find out if there are any CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture, the generic term for farm subscription programs) near me, because I am not always able to make it to a local farmers' market. That urge led me to localharvest.org, an index of CSAs and farmers' markets. A little more clicking led me to The Tierra Miguel Foundation, apparently the only CSA that delivers widely through the greater Los Angeles area. Wednesday in Manhattan Beach is my closest delivery spot.
Current prices for the TMF CSA are $2000 for 46 weeks of Certified Organic produce. Farmer John offers 20 weeks (shorter growing season in Illinois) of vegetables only for $600. An every other week fruit share is available as an add on.
The TMF prices are less than $45.00 per week (compared with $30 per week for Farmer John), which is less than I spend at the farmers' market when I go, but I don't have a good feeling for how I would have to augment the share to make it through a week (adding fruit for lunches, citrus for juice, etc). One advantage of a CSA for me might be that it reduces shopping trips, provided I don't have to augment too much.
Other Los Angeles area related services
www.chowhound.com has additional discussion.