Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

ON FOOD: Consumers, farmers get a new chance to unite in commerce

By Teresa Farney Published: May 1, 2013

Just when it seemed people were getting the hang of buying into a CSA - Community Supported Agriculture program - the opportunities to jump on board are dwindling.

If you're not familiar with the concept, it's a mutually beneficial relationship between consumers and local farmers. CSA members pay farmers for a full growing season.

The farmers receive payment early in the season, which helps with the farm's cash flow. They also have time and funding to market food early in the year, before 16-hour days in the field begin. When the farmers start harvesting, the CSA members get fresh, locally grown food weekly. In turn, farmers develop a reliable, local, and committed market for their goods.

During the past several years, many families in Colorado Springs enjoyed membership in the Grant Family Farm CSA program. But the Grant Farm filed for bankruptcy, leaving a void in the local CSA scene. In 2007, the Grant Family Farm CSA program started with around 300 members. By the time the farm went bankrupt in 2012, it had grown to 4,500, the largest in the country, according to Meg Bucklin, former membership coordinator.

That was a big loss. However, there is some hope for those who have learned to enjoy the benefits of CSA. For the first time, Arkansas Valley Organic Growers is going to offer a multiform CSA program in the Springs and Pueblo.

There are seven farmers who are members of the AVOG, including Country Roots, Frost Family Farm, Greenhorn Acres, Hobbs Family Farm, Family Roots Farm, Larga Vista Ranch and Venetucci Farm. Cost of membership is $655. There is a two-payment option if you'd prefer not to pay the total up front. Membership is limited to 250. Visit arkvalleygrowers.com.

When you sign up, you will need to select a pickup location. There are five in the Springs: Colorado College, 4:30-5:30 p.m. Tuesdays; Pandora's Flower Box, 133 Manitou Ave. in Manitou Springs, 5-6 p.m. Tuesdays; Colorado Farm and Art Market at the Margrita at PineCreek, 7350 Pine Creek Road, 9:30-10:30 a.m. Saturdays; Blue Sage Caf? 5152 Centennial Blvd., 10:30-11:30 a.m. Saturdays.

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Contact Teresa J. Farney at 636-0271, Twitter @tffoodie, Facebook Teresa Farney

Just when it seemed people were getting the hang of buying into a CSA - Community Supported Agriculture program - the opportunities to jump on board are dwindling.

If you're not familiar with the concept, it's a mutually beneficial relationship between consumers and local farmers. CSA members pay farmers for a full growing season.

The farmers receive payment early in the season, which helps with the farm's cash flow. They also have time and funding to market food early in the year, before 16-hour days in the field begin. When the farmers start harvesting, the CSA members get fresh, locally grown food weekly. In turn, farmers develop a reliable, local, and committed market for their goods.

During the last several years, many families in Colorado Springs enjoyed membership in the Grant Family Farm CSA program. But the Grant Farm filed for bankruptcy, leaving a void in the local CSA scene. In 2007, the Grant Family Farm CSA program started with about 300 members. By the time the farm went bankrupt in 2012, it had grown to 4,500, the largest in the country, according to Meg Bucklin, former membership coordinator.

That was a big loss. There is some hope, however, for those who have learned to enjoy the benefits of CSA. For the first time, Arkansas Valley Organic Growers is going to offer a multiform CSA program in the Springs and Pueblo.

There are seven farmers who are members of the AVOG, including Country Roots, Frost Family Farm, Greenhorn Acres, Hobbs Family Farm, Family Roots Farm, Larga Vista Ranch and Venetucci Farm. Cost of membership is $655. There is a two-payment option if you'd prefer not to pay the total up front. Membership is limited to 250. Visit arkvalleygrowers.com.

When you sign up, you will need to select a pickup location. There are five in the Springs: Colorado College, 4:30-5:30 p.m. Tuesdays; Pandora's Flower Box, 133 Manitou Ave. in Manitou Springs, 5-6 p.m. Tuesdays; Colorado Farm and Art Market at the Margarita at PineCreek, 7350 Pine Creek Road, 9:30-10:30 a.m. Saturdays; Blue Sage Caf? 5152 Centennial Blvd., 10:30-11:30 a.m. Saturdays.

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Contact Teresa J. Farney at 636-0271, Twitter @tffoodie, Facebook Teresa Farney

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