Living Well with BCHC; Community Supported Agriculture
Ever wondered how to get a constant supply of farm fresh veggies and products without having to do all the work? Well CSAs are for you! CSA or Community Support Agriculture is a great way to create a direct economic and social link between farmers and community members. In short, CSA farmers produce fresh vegetables, meats, dairy, etc. for their local community. Members buy into the farm for the season upfront so the farmer is able to grow and produce the food. In return, the member receives weekly shares of the fresh-from-the-farm produce and the comfort of knowing where and how that food was grown.
Each CSA farm is a little different in what they produce and how they design their shares. CSAs around northeast Iowa range from 20-150 members. The average cost is a few hundred dollars for the entire growing season, which is usually about four months or 16 shares. Typically, each share contains between 5-15 pounds of fresh vegetables or products, and can feed between two to four people. Some farmers are able to offer a fall or winter share if they have the proper equipment, such as a greenhouse or high tunnel, to grow produce later into the growing season. As a bonus, farmers may also offer free educational classes or farm tours to their members throughout the year.
If you are looking for a way to better connect with your community, support the local economy, or eat more vegetables, consider becoming a CSA member this summer. Look for a CSA near you using ISU Extension and Outreach’s CSA Directory: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/localfoods/iowa-csa-directory/ Want to learn more about CSAs? Check out the publication by ISU Extension and Outreach: https://store.extension.iastate.edu/Product/5234.
For more information contact Sarah Kielly, Local Foods Coordinator at Buchanan County ISU Extension and Outreach, 319-334-7161 or firstname.lastname@example.org.