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Community supported agriculture


By Allyson Jacob · February 18th, 2004 · Where Are They Now?
Then: In April 1995, CityBeat introduced many readers to the concept of community supported agriculture (CSA). In a nutshell, CSA pairs consumers with a farm close to home. "A group of consumers (contract) directly with a grower to receive the fruits of the harvest," Karen Amelia Arnett reported. "By connecting directly with the grower of their food, consumers can receive fresher produce and gain a richer appreciation of what's involved in farming." Consumers, or "sharers," pay up front in CSAs and receive roughly half a bushel of produce each week during the growing season. (Issue of April 27, 1995)

Now: The CSA movement has grown considerably since 1995.

Turner Farm, one of three CSAs profiled in the cover story, has expanded from seven sharers to 40.

"Sharers rave about all the things they've discovered," says Turner's Bonnie Mitsui. "Swiss chard, kale, okra ... we've introduced them to new things and they've responded well."

Many of Turner's sharers own half shares, and thus the Turner CSA, while located in Indian Hill, serves about 70 people from all over the Greater Cincinnati area. Other CSAs in the area deliver produce to their sharers, but Mitsui's sharers pick up their food on site on Given Road.

"Because I'm close, I don't have to deliver," she explains.

Picking up produce provides an opportunity to get in the required two hours of work per week for all Turner sharers. Yes, the Turner folks expect their sharers to take an active role in the farm.

"They can do whatever they want that needs to be done," Mitsui says. "Harvesting, planting, weeding, cleaning vegetables, putting food out for pickup."

Of the three CSAs profiled in the original article, Turner and Grailville in Loveland are still operating. Gravel Knolls in West Chester is another farm that's joined the CSA movement. For additional information about CSAs, check out www.localharvest.org.

WHERE ARE THEY NOW? updates cover stories from throughout CityBeat's 10-year history.



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