The first year of the pilot Evergreen Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program recently concluded in Snohomish County. Through this NABC program, farm-fresh and locally-grown fruits and vegetables were delivered weekly to multi-subscriber drop sites within Everett city limits.
Fresh produce was supplied from Snohomish and Skagit farms to subscribers employed by Providence Hospital Colby Campus and the Snohomish County administration complex. The program focused on bringing together local growers and consumers to support the local agricultural economy, encourage appreciation of healthier and fresher foods, and reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions. This farm-to-institution project was modeled after the Nooksack Valley producers Cooperative, a similar program serving the staff of Peace Health Medical Center in Bellingham, developed with technical assistance by NABC.
A delivery and aggregation strategy was required to bring food into the city. Klesick Family Farm, a Stanwood business operating a home delivery service, sourced, processed, boxed and delivered the organically grown fruits and vegetables each week during the harvest season. Already purchasing from several organic producers from around the world, Klesick Family Farm developed a special all-local “Northwest Box” for this program. NABC provided technical assistance to support program development and management.
Tristan Klesick, owner and operator of Klesick Family Farm, explained what the program has meant to his and other local farms. “The timing was perfect.” he said. “Summer is usually the off-season for our farm-raised products. This CSA program was a welcome revenue boost during typically slow months. Plus, it’s good for the farms we buy from to round out the inventory we grow ourselves,” he added.
Subscribers were asked to voluntarily provide feedback on the value of the program. “It was cool,” exclaimed one, “every box was a surprise.” Another reflected “I just finished reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. This program fit right into my reading.”
Due to the promising financial returns to farmers and positive feedback from consumers, the program will be continued and expanded in 2013. For information about the Evergreen CSA, please contact Project Manager Sera Hartman at 360-336-3727 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.