Community Supported Agriculture: Bringing Farm-Fresh Food Home
By Jeanne Lakso, Marketing and Member Services Manager, Linden Hills Co-op
“Everything old is new again” is one of my mother’s favorite sayings, and the statement is certainly true where one of the latest food trends is concerned. The Eat Local movement has grown in popularity over the past few years, spreading from a small group of friends in San Francisco and Berkeley to encompass dedicated groups of locavores around the country, including Minnesota.
The idea of eating as much food as possible from local farmers and growers really takes us back to an era before the average tomato traveled more than 2,000 miles from the farm to your salad bowl. My parents had a backyard garden filled with lettuce, beets, green beans, potatoes, tomatoes, and cucumbers, and now, so do I.
If you don’t have a green thumb, a sunny backyard, or the inclination to grow your own veggies, you can find many other ways to eat locally year round. You can shop your local food co-op, where 25 to 35 percent of everything sold is from local sources, or visit a farmers market. Visit www.themix.coop to find a co-op.
Buying a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share is another great way to get locally grown fresh food and support local farms. CSAs truly are a winwin situation. Through CSAs, farmers offer a number of crop shares each season to people in their areas. When you buy a share, you receive a box of farmfresh vegetables, herbs, and fruit each week during the growing season. Besides giving urban-dwellers a direct connection to super-fresh and local food, CSA programs also provide farmers with a reliable source of income. A typical farm share costs between $300 and $600 with weekly deliveries for three or Community Supported Agriculture: Bringing Farm-Fresh Food Home four months from June through early October. Many CSA subscribers arrange to split their weekly product box, and the cost, with friends, neighbors, or relatives, and some give the excess to a local food shelf.
Linden Hills Co-op serves as a pick-up site for four community supported farms this summer; a listing of its CSA partners is on its website at www.lindenhills.coop/produce. To purchase a CSA share, you can contact these farms directly via phone or e-mail. Some farms have sign-up forms on their websites and other information that can help you decide which farm is right for you.
Make the Most of Your CSA Share
If you’re new to community supported agriculture, Linden Hills Co-op can help you get started. On Tuesday, March 23, from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM, ten-year CSA veteran Kathryn Tempas will teach Make the Most of Your CSA Share at the co-op. Kathryn will identify unusual veggies and offer ideas for preparation. This class is $12 or $10 for members of any Twin Cities food co-op. To register, call 612-922-1159.
Meet Your Farmers
Seward Co-op will hold its ninth annual Community Supported Agriculture Fair on Saturday, April 24, from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM in the co-op’s parking lot. The CSA Fair offers shoppers the unique opportunity to develop a personal connection with local growers. During the event, attendees can purchase a CSA membership, which helps cover farmers’ annual operating expenses. Look for a complete list of attendees at www.seward.coop.
Linden Hills Co-op, 2813 West 43rd Street, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55410, 612-922-1159