Signal Mt. Farms and the YMCA of Metropolitan Chattanooga announce a third year of partnership in bringing locally grown organic produce to the community through the Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA. The partnership began as a way to not only support individuals wanting to make a lifestyle change to eating healthy, but also to support local farmers.
CSA provides local farmers with members who care about eating healthy and supporting a local farm of their choice. Local farmers build an additional network of consumers who invest in the farm and its local mission through the CSA program.
“I have really enjoyed working with the YMCA,” said Thomas O’Neal, farmer and owner of Signal Mountain Farms. “The Y offers convenient pickup locations for Signal Mtn.
Farm’s CSA members. Our fresh produce is of the highest quality, and is harvested and packed the day of or the day before delivery. By offering these convenient pickup locations, the YMCA has shown their commitment to foster healthy families around our community.”
This year the CSA program will run 24-weeks beginning in May and running through October.
“Locally grown produce is rich in nutrients and provides a greater benefit to us as individuals,” said Bill Rush, project manager for Pioneering Healthy Communities for the YMCA.
The YMCA convenes local organizations with residents to address overall health that promotes access, affordability and convenience for all residents for healthy food and physical activity. “The YMCA is working through our Mobile Market and Healthy Corner Stores to provide access to healthy and affordable food,” Mr. Rush said. "In fact, the Y works with several local farms to provide produce to at-risk populations within the food desert. Through these partnerships with local farmers, support is provided to those farmers working diligently to provide the best quality product for the consumer. “We know from evidence-based studies that supporting the local farming industry has a direct economic input as well as a healthy living quality.”
“CSA is a tremendously flexible concept for consumer-farmer connections,” said Elizabeth Henderson, CSA farmer and author of Sharing the Harvest. “It’s an alternative system of distribution based on community values. The economics of direct sales make this a win-win solution for farmers and farm members. The farmer gets a decent price and the member pays less, since there is no middleman.”
“CSA offers the possibility of a broad support group,” Ms. Henderson added. “Those groups are composed of local people who know about the farm, genuinely care about its survival, and are willing to share the farmer’s risks and rewards.
“In reciprocity, CSA farm members have the opportunity to eat fresh, healthy food, to connect with the earth, to know and trust in the people who grow their food, to deepen their understanding of seasonal eating, to support the local economy, and to take an empowered stance of accepting responsibility for one of our most basic needs."
For more information about Signal Mountain Farms, or to sign up, email email@example.com.