Community Supported Agriculture: The Benefits of Supporting Local Foods

Community Supported Agriculture: The Benefits of Supporting Local Foods


If you are interested in knowing more
about where and how your food is grown and produced, and you also want the best
for you and your family, then you are probably interested
in local foods. Keeping it local benefits not only you, but also the community. You’ll get a chance to meet the people
who grow and produce your food, and you’ll probably make some friends
along the way. [Music] We’re in beautiful Holmes County, on one heck of a hillside and we do hill-side farming. We do about an acre of growing altogether
and we grow for farmer’s market, for CSA market, and a little bit of
restaurant business. I’m a co-owner with my brother James
and we started Troyer’s Country Market about four and a half years ago. And we wanted to be able to bring fresh, local fruits and vegetables to the community. We also were looking in our
distribution business, Troyer Cheese, of offering our community cheeses
and meats, some of those are grown locally. To the consumer, there are a lot of
benefits to locally produced foods. The first one is: locally produced foods spend a lot less time in shipping, a lot less time from the field to when it gets to your table. And so that less time means that there
is less time for that food to lose nutrients. [Music] The CSA is Community Supported Agriculture.
It’s a commitment between a grower and a buyer of your produce that
the person will pay up front for your produce for the season
and then you as a grower commit to providing fresh, locally
grown food for the season to them. One of the biggest benefits of a CSA is
that the people that buy into CSA’s, like Mary’s farm here, get to know
the person who is growing their food they get to know where their food is grown,
and how it is grown, and see it throughout the entire growing cycle.
They also have the added benefit of knowing that their food that they are
picking up in their CSA basket has probably been picked less than 24 hours
from the time that they’re picking it up Additionally, they are supporting their
local community by buying into their local farmer and not putting money
that may be going out of the state. I grow a big variety of produce. I grow onions, garlic, alot of lettuces
and greens. We also do conventional things like carrots, beets, beans, and other
seasonal things. Just a huge variety to fill all the different slots for the
local roots market and for CSA baskets. What goes in the baskets vary from farm
to farm. Some do meat shares and egg shares and grain shares.
Some mix flowers in with their produce. So there is a huge variety
from grower to grower about what they will put in their baskets. I sell at the downtown Wooster
Farmer’s Market on Main Street. That’s from June until the end of October.
And then I sell at the Local Roots Market, which is also downtown
and that’s open year round. [Music] Well It’s a Wooster downtown market
and it started in the late 90’s. About 4 vendors.
And we were one of the co-founders. It moved down to Main Street from another area, I think was Grant, it was from Ray Crow’s,
at the dry cleaner’s parking lot. And then we moved down here to the square
and it’s been going great guns ever since. So in the last 15 to 16 years, the local
growing has really taken off. It’s a great venture to get into. It’s
exciting to see people wanting your foods, exciting to have people come to the markets,
going “Oh we’re so glad you’re here”. And they hate to see us leave at the end.
So places like Local Roots are great but there are so many more
opportunities for selling now. Well, my husband and I met Mary and Joe
when they first started the market here and we started coming and we found
their vegetables to be very good and we liked the idea that they
were local and weren’t shipped. And we got to know their daughters and their son and we just found them a very centered family that was really into producing high-quality food. Your OSU Extension office can provide lots
of resources to people that want to be a home-gardener and grow things in your
own backyard to small farmers to large farmers.
So, we can provide information about growing the product, selecting varieties,
dealing with pests in the field or in the farm garden.
So we have lots of resources like the Midwest Strawberry Guide, the Brambles
and Raspberries Guide, the Grape Growing Guide, the Fruit and Vegetable Producer’s Guide.
These are books that you can purchase from our local Extension offices,
as well as the tons of resources that you can download from
the Ohioline website. [Music] What is local?
Local can be here in Holmes County, Ohio. It could be very close by at the
muck farms in Hartville, Ohio. We can travel further to the Midwest
region where it could be packed locally for us to use in our
cannery Amish Wedding Foods and then we go all the way out to Oregon
at another time of the year. And so local can be any geographic region
in America, once we leave America local usually loses its impact. Ohio is a very diverse area for growing
produce and there are many different produce items. For example, in the Fall we have
all kinds of pumpkins that are grown locally. Pumpkins that have little warts on them,
pumpkins that have peanuts on them, gourds, squashes, all kinds of things.
Also corn is a huge item grown locally. It’s one of the best items in the country. Our flagship item at Troyer Chesse in
Troyer’s Country Market is Ohio Swiss Cheese. This is made by local farmers
and is a great item. Another item that is locally grown
that we sell here is Gerber’s chicken. We really believe it’s important to buy
as local as we can because many many times the quality
means that it is just that much better. There is also the benefit that local foods to the consumer means that
your money is staying more locally. It stays in your own community
and benefits you community. [Music] Because local food has become
such a hot topic these days many of your local Extension offices
are working with their communities to develop what you might
refer to as directories of where people can find
local food in their community. Usually they are on a county-by-county
basis or a town-by-town basis but they often will include
farmers markets, food co-ops, CSA’s, farmers that might have
farm stands or road side stands, anywhere someone can actually purchase local food products. The community as a whole is more embracing
local food and understanding what it means to buy local and to support us local farmers. So restaurants, places like Local Roots,
the auctions, the co-ops that stop by and sell food. So it’s a great time to get started
and get involved in growing local produce and taking care of your farm
and growing, keep growing. You must really like what you do. I love doing what I do. [Music] A great place to learn about information on
local foods is your local Extension office. Whether purchasing local foods
at a farmer’s market, or joining Community Supported Agriculture, spending money in the community you live
in helps the environment, helps the economy and helps you on your way
to a healthier lifestyle.

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