Sometimes I get ideas. Things I think are totally righteous, but I have no way to implement myself right now. Things that could contribute to a healthier, more sustainable food system, and are also just awesome. Thoughts that might become reality, or might wither and die because they’re completely unfeasible, or because I’m the only one who thinks they’re cool. This is one of those things…
I didn’t know what to expect when I joined the Purple Cow CSA.
I had been a part of Community Supported Agriculture groups before, and I was pretty familiar with how they worked: you pay your dues, maybe put in a few hours of volunteer work at the farm, and you get sweet-ass boxes of fresh local produce right from the farmer. But the members of Purple Cow acted different from your normal CSA collection of local food nerds and hippies—more conspiratorial, with sly winks and references to The Delivery.
Did you get the week’s Delivery yet? Hells yeah, it scared the crap out of the neighbor’s dachshund. I got my Delivery yesterday evening, me and my brother were drinking on the front porch; he said he didn’t know it was legal yet! What’ll happen when watermelon season comes around? Don’t worry, they’ll beef up The Delivery by then.
I was lost, but amused. It’s a box of vegetables. It gets delivered to you. The secret of how the food gets to your doorstep can’t warrant this level of intrigue. I smiled and rolled my eyes and kept pulling weeds.
That night, I was watching Supernatural when I heard something weird outside. Some buzzing, whooshing sound. I sprang up and ran out, thinking that damn kid next door was terrorizing the cat with his radio helicopter again.
I froze in the beam of a spotlight radiating from a point thirty feet above my lawn.
The noise intensified. The blinds across the street flipped open, then Ms. Sweeney pushed open the glass door and stood gawking on the threshold. My cat crouched beside the porch, teeth bared, eyes glittering.
The spotlight descended, swinging slightly in the wind. It settled ponderously on the grass. The light shifted down, revealing a sturdy box with the words ‘PURPLE COW’ printed on the lid.
Then the drone launched into the sky, giving old Ms. Sweeney whiplash and sending my cat screeching around the side of the house. The gentle spicy scent of radishes and early greens wafted towards me. My Delivery had arrived.
CSA DELIVERY BY DRONE
Okay, so this isn’t some huge scientific breakthrough or sustainability game changer. But what if CSAs were not only easy to join, but also fun? What if there was a cool factor to getting your local food that was about more than the food itself?
New people would get involved in local agriculture just for the novelty of it. Once the fun part gets them hooked, they’re in for the long haul. ‘Local Food Breaks From Wonk Enclaves Into The Mainstream.’ Like Uber.
Maybe this will never happen. But I hope it does. I would be excited as hell to get regular deliveries of fresh, local, seasonal vegetables brought to me by an airborne robot. That would be sweet. I would tell all of my friends. It would spread, because it’s new, it’s weird. It would spur more interest in local sustainable food, even though the drone itself doesn’t have anything to do with sustainability. It’s a Free Prize, a Purple Cow.
It could happen.