Funding the freshest

Published 4:31 am Sunday, March 4, 2012

Submitted photo Area farmers that offer CSA will be at a green lunch March 7 in St. Joseph.

Consumer Supported Agriculture (CSA) isn’t a new idea, but it is one that is gaining popularity across the United States.

Tens of thousands of families are enrolled in CSAs, with more joining every growing season, according to information gathered by

Those interested in learning more about CSAs can do so at a green lunch hosted by Michigan’s Great Southwest Sustainable Business Forum from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 7 at The Buck, Burgers & Brew in St. Joseph.

Area farmers that offer CSA will be at the lunch to answer questions and offer attendees the opportunity to sign up for the next growing season.

CSA members will also be on hand to talk about their experiences.

“You will have a pretty unique opportunity to shop around, look for the CSA that will be best for you,” said Quinn Tabbert, sales and event manager at Lake Michigan College’s Mendel Center.

Here is how a CSA works.

A farmer offers to the public a certain number of shares, which typically consist of a box of vegetables or produce. Consumers can purchase a share and receive a box or basket of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season.

The more the farmer yields, the more the consumer receives.

If the farmer yields less than expected, the consumer also receives less produce, so there is risk involved.

“That is the whole concept behind consumer-supported farms,” Tabbert said. “Financially, it turns out to be a more fiscally responsible way to buy your local produce.”

Michigan CSA that will be present are the Eaters Guild in Bangor, Oakhill Farms in Eau Claire, Walkers Fresh Veggies in Paw Paw and To Your Door Produce in Niles.

Tabbert will discuss practical ways to utilize and preserve Michigan produce.

To register for the green lunch, email or call (269) 588-0222 or RSVP online at Cost for members is $12 or $15 for non-members.

To learn more,  visit