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Local Utah farms provide asylum for refugees and harvest share programs for everyone

3/7/2018 - SALT LAKE CITY, Utah(News4Utah) Local farms across Utah provide the opportunity every year for harvest share programs. Some of those farms now reach out to refugees to provide jobs and help to those seeking asylum. Jack Wilbur from the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food, and Shawn Peterson with Green Urban Lunchbox, joined Emily Clark, to teach us more about that program.

In the most traditional definition, CSA harvest share programs are a partnership between a specific farm, or group of farms and consumers. Members or "shareholders" share the spring start-up costs, and summer/autumn harvest rewards of farming.

Shareholders pay a fee at the beginning of the growing season to help meet a farm's operating expenses for the upcoming season. In return, shareholders receive a portion of the farm's harvest each week throughout the growing season. Shareholders receive a box or bag once a week containing several varieties of what is in season and available.

Most farms offer a summer season option that runs for about 18-20 weeks from June to October. Some farms also offer shorter season options in mid-spring, late fall and during winter. CSA operators strive to offer pickup locations that are conveniently close to their shareholders. In recent years, a few farms have extended their seasons to year round or nearly all year, and some even offer pay as you go weekly or monthly subscriptions.

While the CSA open house is a great way to meet representatives from several farms in one location at one time, this event is really just the beginning of the CSA sign up season for most farms. They've also made virtual comparison shopping easy via the www.csautah.org website.

Click on the Find a CSA tab and look at the listings of more than 30 farms. Each listing has a link to the
farms website, emails address and telephone number, as available. Spending a few minutes on this site
is a great way to shop for the CSA program that is right for you.

Joining a CSA Farm is a way to get fresh, local produce all growing season long. It minimizes the impacts on the environment from shipping produce great distances. CSA is part of a growing trend across the United States; the popularity of CSA programs in Utah have increased dramatically in the past decade, from just a handful of farms to more than 35 this year. The number of shareholders has also grown from a few hundred ten years ago to nearly 3,500 in 2012, the last year data is available. Of the 18,000 farms in Utah, about 1,800 are selling directly to consumers in one form or another.

The annual community supported agriculture (CSA) open house event gives consumers a chance to meet farmers and learn more about individual farm CSA harvest share programs for this year. The open house will be held Wednesday March 7th from 6-8 p.m. at Wheeler Farm, in the Activity Barn, 6351 S. 900 E. in Salt Lake City.

The open house is sponsored by the Great Salt Lake Resource Conservation and Development Council (GSL RC&D), Salt Lake Conservation District, Salt Lake County, and the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food/Utah's Own.


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