Feb. 22 2017 12:59 AM

Community supported agriculture delivers locally grown food and satisfaction

People want more local food. Farmers are eager to grow it.

The problem is how to hook them up. Allen Market Place will help plug supply into demand at its third annual CSA Fair on February 26.

The fair is open to any members of the community who want to learn about community supported agriculture and local farms. People can meet the farmers and get subscriptions to buy fresh produce and products for the duration of the growing season.

The growing list of participating farms include ANC Veggie Box, Capital Village Trade Cooperative, CBI's Giving Tree Farm, Hillcrest Farm, Hunter Park GardenHouse, Lansing Roots, Monroe Family Organics, MSU Student Organic Farm, Owosso Organics, Thornapple CSA, Titus Farms, Urbandale Farm, and Zumo Eco Farm. Local concession vendors will also participate.

“There’s so much variation in what different CSAs offer, which is really nice because what one offers may not fit the needs of somebody else,” Rita O’Brien said. O’Brien is associate director of Allen Market Place and director of Hunter Park GardenHouse.

CSA subscriptions are important to both customers and farmers. Farming is a risky business. CDA subscriptions assure them that everything they plant will be sold. Customers, in turn, get fresh, locally grown produce and other items.

O’Brien emphasized that having a subscription to a CSA not only gives a member food from within a 50 mile radius, but also helps to sustain the local economy.

Some CSA programs accept food benefit programs such as SNAP as well.

Another benefit of CSA programs is the variation in members’ basket mix as the growing season goes through its phases, from early radishes to fresh salad greens to mid-summer tomatoes to autumn squash and pumpkins.

Lesser-known but no less delicious produce items, from kale to parsnips, add the spice of variety. Maggie Harris, a Hunter Park GardenHouse subscriber, says the program has introduced her family to many new foods.

“Our baskets have really expanded our horizons,” Harris said. “It has given us the opportunity to dig deeper and try different recipes and foods and also just a lot more vegetables than we would otherwise.”

Harris got involved with her program when she moved to Lansing from St. Louis. She agreed that it benefits both her family and her community.

“One of the things that I really appreciate about the programs and why I want my family to continue is because it’s really accessible to everyone in the community,” she said.

With representatives from so many local growers gathered in one basket for people to meet, Allen Market Place’s CSA Fair is all about accessibility.

CSA Fair
Allen Market Place
Noon-4.p.m 1629
E. Kalamazoo St., Lansing
(517) 999-3923, exchange@allenneighborhoodcenter.org