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It’s CSA sign-up season!

Economy, Farmers Markets, Find Local Food, Get Involved, Kelly Wilson, Southeast Michigan, Spring

The return of the longer days, bouts of sunshine, and the pop of crocus and snowdrops have signaled that spring is here. If you’re like me, you’re dreaming of your garden and the tastes of fresh, local produce. To ensure that you have consistent access to these flavors, and the upcoming seasonal bounty, consider signing up for a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program.Every farm has a unique CSA model, however, in most CSA models, consumer pay a set price at the beginning of the season for a subscription to fresh vegetables. The upfront investment gives farms the funds to prepare for the growing season and consumers, in return for their investment, receive healthy and fresh produce, recipes, a relationship with their farmer, and the satisfaction of supporting the local economy.

Unique CSA Models

Cooperative/Aggregated Models:
In these models, multiple farmers cooperate to create a CSA program. This allows farms to be more efficient by specializing in a few crops. Examples of aggregated CSA programs include:

• Capital Village Trade Cooperative– Serving the Lansing area

• City Commons CSA– Serving Detroit

• The Local Grocer CSA – Serving Grand Blanc, Fenton, Flint.

Market Shares:
Farmers using this model provide consumers a credit to buy down at the local farmers market. Often, consumers receive a bonus for their early investment and are able to have “first pick” of market goods by pre-ordering. Examples of these programs include:

• Stone Coop Farm

• Zilke Vegetable Farm

To find a CSA farm in your area, go to www.localdifference.org and select “Find Farms and Food.” Check the CSA box.

Plus, if you’re in the Ann Arbor Area, the Ann Arbor Farmers Market is hosting a CSA Day on April 21 where you can meet and greet with area CSA farmers and vendors. More info here

Kelly Wilson, RDN is TLD’s SE MI Local Food Coordinator. She has been anxiously planning her herb garden and cannot wait to have her hands back in the soil.

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