Seward Co-op to host its 12th-annual CSA Fair

On Saturday, Seward Co-op's CSA fair will feature farmers from across the state.

On Saturday, Seward Co-op's CSA fair will feature farmers from across the state.

This Saturday Seward Co-op will be hosting its 12th-annual CSA Fair, which showcases local farmers and their CSA programs to the public. A CSA (short for Community Supported Agriculture) is a program in which consumers buy harvest shares directly from local farmers. In return, investors receive fresh produce on a scheduled basis, which can be picked up from a variety of drop points across the Twin Cities. These programs help farmers with their heavy springtime expenditures while providing people with fresh, locally grown produce.

The event will run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 13, in the parking lot of Seward Co-op and will be "rain or shine." We with a co-op manager and some of the farmers involved to get their take on what CSAs mean for the community at large.

[jump] According to Seward Co-op's marketing and membership manager Tom Vogel, "the CSA Fair is a way for urban and rural folks to come together and celebrate our agricultural community. CSA subscriptions also help offset a farm's yearly operating expenses, the bulk of which occur in the spring. The exchange is very much in the cooperative spirit: support for local producers in exchange for months of locally grown food."

Growing Lot's Urban Farm is a farm that's actually located within the Minneapolis city limits, and this will be their fourth season participating in a CSA program. According to the farmers, "One of the things our CSA members love most is that being an urban farm, with on-farm weekly pickups, they get to watch their food being grown through the year, talk with their farmers every week, and for those with children, it draws an amazing connection between the food on their plates and the earth where it was grown. As well, being an urban farm, many of our CSA members bike or walk to the farm to pick up their weekly share, because we are located in the heart of their neighborhood!"

Mike Lind of Driftless Organics, a certified organic farm in Solider's Grove, Wisconsin, lists several perks of taking part in a CSA program. According to Lind, the consumer benefits are many and include things like learning how to use vegetables they otherwise wouldn't try,  teaching kids the importance of healthy food and knowing where it comes from, and to simply eat better.

For more information on the CSA Fair and for a full list of participating farmers, visit the Seward co-op website.