Groups Host CSA Fair Promoting Fresh Produce for Healthier Hearts this Valentine’s Day Weekend
Six CSAs* will connect with potential members this coming Saturday at the Campbell’s Nutrition CSA fair presented by Greater Des Moines Buy Fresh Buy Local, Eat Greater Des Moines, and Iowa Heartland Resource Conservation and Development. The event aims to provide people the opportunity to meet with farmers directly, to learn more about CSAs, and to ask questions to help them choose a CSA that best fits their specific needs and lifestyle. “The CSA Fair is a great way to learn more about CSA options around the area and talk directly with each producer. Each CSA has benefits unique to them. This fair is a great chance to ask questions and find the CSA that is a best fit for you,” says Aubrey Martinez, Director of Eat Greater Des Moines.
“CSAs are really a fantastic way for individuals and families to dramatically increase their consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables. The produce is often harvested on the day the produce is delivered and throughout the 20 or so weeks of deliveries a CSA member will be offered dozens of different fruits and vegetables,” says Matt Russell, Greater Des Moines Buy Fresh Buy Local coordinator at the Drake Agricultural Law Center.
There has been a perception in the past that CSAs are full and people are too late to join. While that might have been true a decade ago, today there are plenty of shares as new farms have started and existing farms have expanded their operations.
The Drake Agricultural Law Center is working with Iowa Heartland RC&D on a project connecting CSAs with Des Moines area employers. The project involves CSAs and employers working together to deliver shares directly to worksites making it easier for employees to access and eat more fresh produce.
“This is a wellness project for employers. The evidence is clear that people who eat more fruits and vegetables have significantly better health outcomes than people who only eat fruits and vegetables occasionally,” says Shirley Stout Fredrickson the executive director of Iowa Heartland RC&D. “This project is a win, win, win. Employers provide a proven strategy for better health, employees receive a growing season’s worth of the freshest produce possible, and farmers are able to expand their farms.”
Campbell’s was one of the participants last year in the CSA project. They partnered with The Homestead CSA at their Urbandale location.
“Partnering with CSAs is a natural fit for us because our mission is health. Helping our customers eat more fruits and vegetables is an important part of what we do. We sell produce all year and offer locally grown in season. But whether our customers are buying from us or joining a CSA, the goal is the same: more fruits and vegetables for better health,” says Diane Lahodny, owner of Campbell’s Nutrition.
Campbell’s Nutrition in addition to hosting the CSA fair will be sampling heart healthy foods throughout the store.
Eat Greater Des Moines is dedicated to connecting available resources with the broader community in order to support the entire food lifecycle in central Iowa. Eat Greater Des Moines is funded by the Des Moines Area Religious Council (DMARC), the United Way of Central Iowa, and Hormel Foods through a Healthy Communities Grant.
When: Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Where: Campbell’s Nutrition, 4040 University Ave., Des Moines
Cost: Free and open to the public
*CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. These farms offer membership shares and deliver the bounty of the farm to members during a set number of weeks. Often the shares are for about 20 weeks between June and September but many farms offer additional shares for early, late, or holiday seasons.
For More Information
Aubrey Martinez, Director, Eat Greater Des Moines
Matt Russell, Drake University