National CSA Sign-up Day is tomorrow
Angelic Organics Learning Center’s Roots & Wings Network will be joining farms around the country tomorrow for National CSA Sign-up Day. This day encourages food consumers to buy a share of harvests from local farms for the 2016 season as part of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA).
CSA has become a strong asset to support local agriculture, growing to more than 6,000 farms nationwide since it was introduced in the 1980s. To join a CSA members buy a share of the harvest in the winter and spring and then get a box of local produce each week throughout the growing season. Buying a CSA share early is important because late winter is when farmers are making capital investments for the year’s harvest.
“CSAs are the most authentic connection between a farmer and eater available. CSA members get the freshest, high quality, seasonal local produce, but they also get a direct connection to their farmer. This model is economically important to farmers, especially small and beginning farmers, because they can grow with confidence knowing that they have a market for their produce ahead of time,” said Simon Huntley from Small Farm Central, a technology company that works with CSA farms across the country, and the creator of National CSA Sign-up Day.
Roots & Wings is a network of local organizations committed to community and youth development through urban agriculture. The Roots & Wings CSA is coordinated by their Youth Leader Program, an initiative that increases youth job skills through urban farming, business training, and cooking. Shareholders receive a box of vegetables, herbs, flowers and melons which are grown using organic techniques, then harvested and packed by Rockford youth. Currently Roots & Wings operates two Rockford farms, Black Courts Farm & Garden and the Youth Farm at Tinker Swiss Cottage.
“Really great produce!” said one 2015 Roots & Wings CSA member. “I like being introduced to new foods, mostly the variety of greens. Staff was always really friendly at the pick-up site. I think it’s a great place to have a garden and show people that urban gardening is a viable option for fresh foods.”
The Roots & Wings CSA runs for 10 weeks beginning at the end of June 2016. Weekly premium shares are $360 and half shares (every other week) are $180. The amount and variety is comparable to other local CSAs. Pickup is available on-site at Blackhawk Courts Farm and another central Rockford location which has yet to be determined. Delivery options are available for businesses or households who sign-up six or more shareholders. Subsidies are available to those who qualify. Weekly shares can also be donated for families in need. Visit learngrowconnect.org/CSA to learn more or purchase a share.
Angelic Organics Learning Center coordinates the Roots & Wings Urban Farm Network together with Rockford youth, their families, neighbors, and support organizations. Angelic Organics Learning Center is a regional nonprofit offering opportunities for urban and rural people to grow healthy food and community, connect with farmers and the land, and learn agricultural and leadership skills.