I'll admit it; the acronym sounds a bit Central Intelligence Agency-ish. C.S.A. You've maybe overheard the term being thrown around in a conversation, or perhaps you remember hearing it mentioned on public radio during one of your weekday commutes. Whether this is your first time hearing the term, or you've heard it a few times already, you likely still have some questions about what exactly CSA is all about. This week on the blog we hope to help clear up any confusion regarding CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), and we'll also be sharing an exciting seasonal opportunity that is available now in North Iowa.
CSA has become a popular way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from local producers. It's really quite simple. A producer (or group of producers) makes available a certain number of "shares." Typically these shares consist of fresh vegetables and fruit, but other products may be included as well. Interested consumers purchase a share (or "membership") and in return receive a box, (bag, or basket) of seasonal produce (and possibly bonus items) each week throughout the growing season. The CSA model has potential to make a tremendous impact within a community's agriculture system. In fact, this past winter the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship was strongly encouraging Iowans to consider joining a local CSA to support this positive trend in agriculture. According to the Iowa State Extension, Iowa has seen significant growth in the number of CSAs, growing from 50 in 2006 to more than 80 in 2018. Additionally, these partnerships bring about several benefits for both the producer and consumer.
Some advantages for farmers:
Get to spend time marketing the food early in the year, before their 16-hour workdays begin
Receive payment early in the season, which helps with the farm's cash flow (very similar to other types of companies that pre-sell product to get working capital for product production)
Have an opportunity to get to know the people who eat the food they grow
Some advantages for consumers:
Eat incredibly fresh food, with all the flavor and nutrition benefits that come with fresh food
Explore new vegetables and possibly even new ways of cooking (I'll be contributing tips, tricks, recipes and other educational info through a weekly e-newsletter included in the North Iowa Bounty Basket Program that you'll learn about shortly)
Develop relationships with the local farmers who grows their food, and learn more about how that food is grown
Lucky for us, North Iowa Fresh has partnered with One Vision and Crumbs Bakeshop to offer a multi-farm CSA Program in North Iowa, bringing together vegetables & fruit from 14 local farms. Share holders will enjoy fresh, local produce boxes, conveniently available for worksite (group) delivery or individual pick up at Simply Nourished (18 N 3rd St, east side of city park) in Clear Lake. The Bounty Box Program originated as a worksite wellness option for North Iowa businesses to incorporate into their wellness incentives and offerings. However, the program has been expanded to be available to any North Iowan who would like to participate. See Share Options below:
Share Options: (Mid- May through Mid- October):
Bounty Box: $675 / 22 weeks ($30.68/week)
Bounty Lite: $365 / 11 weeks (every other week, $33)
Bounty Flex: $36 / week (min 7 weeks, you choose)
Bounty Deluxe: $840 / 22 weeks (includes 22 week bread and fruit share) ***Best Value SAVE $17
Optional Add Ons:
Bread Share: $6 / week - same options as above
Fruit Share: $50 - delivered when fruit is ripe (2 qt. strawberries, 3 half-pt. raspberries, 1 pt. blackberries and 6 lbs. apples)
If you or your business is interested in participating, please contact Andrea (the broker for North Iowa Fresh) and she'd love to help get you set up. We continue to celebrate these opportunities we have to partner with other community organizations and businesses, to help bring wellness within reach here in North Iowa.