This posting from KEA’s local food hero, Korrine Kreilkamp:
After several successful years of collecting and distributing over 16,000 lbs. of fresh produce to feed the hungry, the Community Roots program of the Kootenai Environmental Alliance is creating a new way to further strengthen our local food system.
Starting this spring, the program plans to build a charitable Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm in Dalton Gardens called “The Roots CSA.” The CSA model is an arrangement between a farmer and the community. In exchange for financial support in the spring from a group of community supporters, the farmer commits to provide them with a box of healthy, sustainably grown food every other week throughout the growing season.
What makes this CSA unique is that a large portion of the CSA shares will be accessible to families of limited means. These low-income subscriptions, offered at a discounted rate, will be supported by full-price subscriptions, low-income household sponsorships, and a significant percentage of volunteer labor.
St. Vincent de Paul has partnered with The Roots CSA to provide low-income household referrals and a convenient food drop-off point at the new St. Vincent de Paul Help Center for produce pick-ups. Our CSA will focus on those households that, due to unforeseen circumstances such as rising medical costs or the loss of employment, are struggling to keep good food on the table.
“Many of the households that seek our services at St. Vincent de Paul could benefit from eating local nutritious food.” commented Jeff Conroy, Executive Director. “I see this The Roots CSA project as being a great way to enhance our existing life skills classes for low income households.”
The project takes an unused piece of land in Dalton Gardens and turns it into a productive working landscape. In doing so it also allows a talented farmer, Caleb Goss, to market food directly to community clients and to demonstrate organic farming practices that inspire more agriculture in the area.
In this challenging economy many people are in the midst of redefining themselves, and now is the time to close the loop in our charitable food system so that food handouts can become food how to’s.
If you would like to be involved as a supporter of The Roots CSA or if you would like to sponsor a low-income household for the season, contact Korrine Kreilkamp at rootsCSA (at) kealliance (dot) org