Do you want locally grown food, to keep your money where you live, reduce the environmental costs of distribution, support farming without using synthetic fertilizers or pesticides, and keep your ground water clean?
You can – an urban Community Supported Agri-culture (CSA) has finally come to the Northside. Using their former community garden space, the McKinley Neighborhood is joining the urban agriculture revolution with the introduction of a Community Supported Agri-culture micro-farm. CSAs are a way for local farmers to directly market their crops to local consumers. Customers buy a portion of the harvest (in shares) prior to the growing season, and receive a regularly scheduled delivery of fresh produce for the length of the season. McKinley will be growing over 35 vegetables, herbs and cut flowers.
The idea for the McKinley Community CSA developed from neighbors discussing how to improve using the community garden space at the McKinley garden. Community members liked the idea of supporting green space and organic growing practices but many folks already gardened in their own yards or did not have time for this activity. McKinley resident Jenny Skorupa suggested turning this space into a small-scale CSA. Shares are not limited to Northside residents, so in addition to increasing access to healthy food choices in the neighborhood, the McKinley Community CSA will also strengthen ties with other areas of the city. The CSA has the potential to be a revenue source for the neighborhood, or at the minimum be a self-sustaining program. The proposal was approved by the McKinley Community Board in January. In February, Sandra Presley-Patterson and Jenny Skorupa (pictured below) were sent to an intensive workshop on running a CSA. “The ABC’s of CSA’s” were part of the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Services 2010 Organic Farming Conference. The class was taught by established CSA farmers and covered all aspects of growing in the CSA model.
So what will you receive with your share? With 17 weeks of organically grown produce, about one grocery sack full every week is a reasonable expectation. We anticipate our season running from mid-June until the beginning of October. However, part of being a CSA member is sharing in the risk of any crop failures. There are no guarantees; the season may be longer or shorter than expected. Plan on shares being lighter at the beginning of the season and heavier at peak season. You’ll pick up your produce at City View Community School – 3350 North 4th Street. Pick up will be available at the garden on a specific day of the week, probably Saturday or Sunday. The day of the week will be consistent throughout the season but will be determined by what is most convenient for the majority of shareholders. Since this is our inaugural year, we don’t yet know all of the wonderful people partnering with us. If several members are within close proximity to each other an alternative drop-off site may be formed.
For this inaugural season expect peas (shelling and snap), lettuces, radishes, onions, Swiss chard, summer and winter squash, eggplant, potatoes, Brussel sprouts, tomatoes, peppers (sweet and hot), Bak Choi, Australian spinach, melons, green beans, broccoli, cucumbers, beets, flowers and herbs. This is not an all inclusive list but hopefully will give you an idea as to the variety of crops we will grow. Find more info at insidenorthside.org/McKinley+CSA, mckinleycommunitycsa @yahoo.com or 612-276-1541.