National CSA Sign-up Day is tomorrow

Roots & Wings_Blackhawk Courts Farm
Roots & Wings Blackhawk Courts Farm

Staff Report

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.

Visit learngrowconnect.org for more information about the Roots & Wings Network and Angelic Organics Learning Center, and visit csasignupday.com for more information about National CSA Sign-up day.

Share this story