Do you have locavores on your holiday shopping list? If so, why not give them…
Subscription to Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
In recent years, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) has become a popular way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer. Here’s how it works. A farmer offers a certain number of “shares” to the public. Typically the share consists of a box of vegetables, but other farm products may be included. Interested consumers purchase a share (aka a “membership” or “subscription”) and in return receive a box, basket, or bag of seasonal produce on a regularly scheduled basis throughout the farming season.
This arrangement creates several rewards for both the farmer and the consumer.
Advantages for farmers:
- Get to spend time marketing the food early in the year, before their 16 hour days in the field begin.
- Receive payment early in the season, which helps with the farm’s cash flow.
- Have an opportunity to get to know the people who eat the food they grow.
Advantages for consumers:
- Eat ultra-fresh locally-grown food.
- Get exposed to new vegetables and new ways of cooking.
- Develop a relationship with the farmer who grows their food and learn more about how food is grown.
Central Arkansas is fortunate to be home of Basket-A-Month (BAM) Community Supported Agriculture program. Launched in 2005 by Jody Hardin’s Foodshed Farm, the program currently serves more than 200 households. BAM members enjoy the best that Arkansas has to offer while supporting local farmers and economy.
Interested in giving a subscription to BAM this holiday season? Visit www.arkansasfood.net to learn more about the BAM program.
Membership to Online Local Food Market
Web-based local food markets have been popping up all over the state. Here’s how they work. Unlike co-ops, buying clubs, or CSAs where everyone gets the same box of stuff (and you don’t know what you’re getting until you get it), with online local food markets, you get to order what you want, in the quantities that you want, from the farms that you want.
The first step is to create an account with an online market. Once you have an account, you will be notified on certain day of the week about the market being open. You will then have several days to place your order on a website. After you place an order, you will receive an email confirmation that indicates when to pick up your order. Easy, huh?
Many online local food markets require membership to help defray administration costs. This holiday season, why not give a membership to n online local food market to your special someone?
Arkansas is home to the following online local food markets:
- Arkansas Sustainability Network (ASN) Local Food Club – The ASN Local Food Club serves the Little Rock metropolitan area. An annual membership to the Club costs $60.
- Conway Locally Grown (CLG) – CLG serves Conway and surrounding areas and costs $25 per household to join.
- Spa City Co-op – Spa City Co-op serves Hot Springs, and its annual membership costs $25 per household.
- Hot Springs Village Community Market – The Market, known as the Village Community Market, is a free service to the residents of Hot Springs Village.
- Russellville Community Market – Serving Russellville and surrounding areas, the Market adds a 6% surcharge to every order to defray costs.
- Arkansas River Valley Locally Grown Market – The Market serves Atkins and surrounding communities and costs $30 annually to participate.
Locally Grown provides web support to these online markets, and it says on its website that additional markets are coming to the following Arkansas communities: Mountain Home, Maumelle, Benton, Searcy, Jacksonville, Mount Ida, Heber Springs, southwest Arkansas (Hope, Arkadelphia, and Texarkana), Leslie, and McCrory. That’s a lot of markets!
Green giving options for Arkansas locavores are endless these days, so let’s take advantage of them!
The Green Giving series continues tomorrow with more ideas on how to give food instead of “stuff” this holiday season. Stay tuned!