Minnesota Farms to Tables
Community Supported Agriculture and Eat Local Farm Tour offer places and programs to consume Minnesota crops
Photo by Todd Buchanan
Local food supporters unite! As Minnesota’s agriculture infrastructure increases, new ways to locate and consume fresh, state-grown produce keep cropping up.
Most notably, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a fast growing program that connects farm to consumer directly. Participating CSA farms sell shares, or memberships, to their produce for the summer. Then, based on the farm and subscription purchased, food is delivered on a set schedule throughout late spring, summer, and early fall. With more than 80 farms and hundreds of farmers markets and other produce growers participating, all members can find fresh vegetables, meats, mushrooms, and more staples they love.
Participants are asked to pay up front when buying their subscription for summer. It acknowledges the fact that each individual shares part of the risk and/or the reward regardless of crop yield, but it also creates a sense of community, a literal buy-in to the idea of local food.
Events like Eat Local Farm Tour bank on that buy-in. This event, like CSA, is meant to connect farmers to consumers in a way that is environmentally and economically sustainable. All of Saturday, July 16, visitors can spend the day touring local farms and purchasing fresh produce.
The Local Food Tour and CSA give Minnesotans the comfort of knowing where their food is coming from. It’s a luxury not often afforded in supermarkets or convenience stores, and one that hopefully incentivises a continued commitment to eating local. Most of all, CSA and the tour are helping to build a driving force behind local food infrastructure and growth.