Farming is hard. It involves lots of dirt, long hours, relentless weather, and taxing physical labor, sometimes with very little return. Most of us don’t want to be farmers—gardeners, maybe—but we all certainly want to enjoy fresh local produce all summer long.

The Inland Northwest is home to a thriving agricultural community of farmers who love to dig in the dirt and grow good food. We as consumers can support these farmers in a variety of ways and create sustainability for them, our families, and our communities. First, buy local produce and value added goods at your grocery or natural food store. Second, shop the farmers markets. And third, join a CSA or volunteer at a local farm.

Community supported agriculture (CSA) provides economic sustainability, support, and predictability for farmers. It is partnering with a local farm through buying a “share” in their harvest, thereby providing the farmer with a stable income and you the consumer with fresh seasonal produce every week. The contents of your box will vary throughout the season, and per farm, but you will experience the bounty of our region while supporting your local farmer.

The cost of investing in a CSA can be calculated by the pound, by the week, or by the season. It can average between $12 to $20 per week, depending on the farm and the size of your box. Many CSA farms will deliver, set up a drop-off point, or have shares available for pick up at their farmers market booth. Check out some of these CSAs growing good food in our area: Urban Eden Farm, Spokane, Wash.; Ace of Spades Farm, Spokane, Wash.; Tolstoy Farms (organic), Davenport, Wash.; Plante Family Farm, Hayden, Idaho; Bountiful Organics, Sagle, Idaho; Greentree Naturals (organic), Sandpoint, Idaho; Moose Meadow Farm, Clark Fork, Idaho.