Minnesota Grown, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s (MDA) “buy local” program, is participating in National CSA Week from February 20 through 26 to encourage participation in CSAs (community supported agriculture).
A CSA is a farm membership system that allows consumers to sign up to receive a season’s worth of a farm’s products (such as fruits and vegetables, cheese, meat, or flowers) on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. Many offer products throughout the summer growing season; however, there are winter or year-round CSAs available to consumers. A CSA subscription is also an active way to support local farmers and get to know the people that grow and raise your local foods.
National CSA Week is hosted by the CSA Innovation Network, a national network for local CSA farms. During this week, Minnesota Grown will feature in-depth profiles of local CSA farmers on their website and social media accounts, along with information about different types of CSAs available to Minnesotans.
Minnesota Grown makes locating CSAs easy through its online directory, which lists 95 CSA farms with over 375 pick-up locations around the state. The number of pick-up sites listed in the directory has more than doubled in the past two years, making it even more convenient to source fresh, local, and affordable foods.
Farmers attest to how CSA members contribute in more ways than dollars. “Whenever the work is exceptionally hard, or the weather is exceptionally bad, knowing the people who are fed by our hard work makes it all worthwhile,” shared Janaki Fisher-Merritt of Food Farm in Wrenshall. “Being able to repay their support with the highest quality food makes this the most rewarding work a person could ask for."
Minnesota Grown member Sprout MN runs a multi-farm food hub in Little Falls. Food Hub Director Jessie Bavelli said, “The direct connections between consumers and producers formed through CSA contribute to stronger economies, healthy members of our community, and a more resilient agriculture system and environment.”
Minnesota Grown spokesperson Rachel Wandrei says since each CSA program is unique in what it offers, it’s a good idea to review the options in the online directory to find what is right for you or your family. “Some CSAs offer smaller shares for folks living alone or in couples, some offer eggs, baked goods, or flower bouquet add-ons, while others are choose-your-own or customizable,” she said. “Most importantly, pick a CSA with a convenient pick-up location, and be ready to enjoy what is in season!”
Logan Schumacher, MDA Communications