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Wednesday

July 2014

30

FairShare CSA Coalition Endorses New Jefferson County Farm

***FairShare CSA Coalition Endorses New Jefferson County Farm***

It's time to think of fresh lettuce and juicy heirloom tomatoes and fragrant basil -- if folks want to join a CSA farm for the 2013 growing season.

Regenerative Roots, a Jefferson-based organic produce farm, was recently endorsed by the nonprofit FairShare CSA Coalition. To earn the coalition’s stamp of approval, farms must demonstrate experience with community supported agriculture (CSA), a commitment to sustainable growing practices, and the ability to provide a high level of customer service.

"I feel so lucky to be in southern Wisconsin, where the farmer community is so cooperative and strong, and where people really appreciate and value the hard work that we do growing food," said Dennis Fiser, who owns Regenerative Roots with partner Anne Drehfal.

Regnerative Roots joins two additional FairShare farms in Jefferson County: Meg, Mike and Matt Kelly’s High Meadow Farm in Johnson Creek and Chris Zastrow’s Wholesome Harvest in Ft. Atkinson.

CSA is an agricultural model where customers choose to support a specific farm for a full growing season in exchange for a share of the farm's harvest. Farmers benefit from the financial investment at the beginning of the season, when seeds, equipment, and supplies need to be purchased.

In return, once the produce starts rolling in, CSA members enjoy weekly deliveries of farm-fresh vegetables, newsletters with farm updates and recipes, invitations to events on the farm, and a sense of community and pride in being a member of "their" farm. In addition to knowing one's farmer, CSA enables citizens to keep their dollars local and to feel a connection to where their food is coming from and how it is grown.

Regenerative Roots is a small-scale, certified organic produce farm just down the road from the Jefferson County Humane Society. Drehfal and Fiser primarily focus on feeding a small group of CSA members in the Whitewater, Fort Atkinson and Jefferson areas. Their 2013 CSA program will provide up to 45 shareholders with weekly produce deliveries for 20 weeks. They offer two share sizes to accommodate different size households (www.regenerativeroots.com).

"The best part of our job is the connection with our CSA members, who really are the backbone of our farm," Drehfal said. "So rarely in the industrial food system can you point to where your carrots came from, know your farmers by name, and celebrate the harvest with them."

Drehfal and Fiser, both 28, are entering their second independent growing season with resumes packed with work on other FairShare farms, such as JenEhr Family Farm in Sun Prairie and Tipi Produce in Evansville. While their background is in cultivating annual produce, they have a strong interest in incorporating more perennial fruits, nuts, mushrooms, and livestock into their operation, to both add diversity to what they can offer to the local market and to build a more sustainable farming system.

Drehfal will present “Buying Local Food on a Budget” at the upcoming Wellfest put on by Working for Whitewater's Wellness (W3). Her presentation begins at 2 p.m. during the festival, which runs noon-3 p.m. Sunday, March 10 at the Whitewater High School. Regenerative Roots will also have information available on site about their 2013 CSA program. Wellfest will consist of a series of free family-friendly sessions including fitness classes, financial planning, cooking demos, and a resource fair.

FairShare CSA Coalition connects Community Supported Agriculture farmers and eaters and is working toward a future where CSA is the backbone of a strong local food system; where all families have access to locally produced, organic food and strong connections to their farms, food and community.

Four area health insurers offer CSA Wellness Rebates. Customers of Unity, Dean, GHC-SCW, and Physicians+ can apply for rebates of $100 for individuals and up to $200 for families when they purchase a vegetable CSA share from any FairShare farm.

For low-income households, FairShare's Partner Shares program provides assistance funds of up to $300 toward the cost of joining a farm, and also offers payment plans to spread payments throughout the year. In addition, PartnerShares also administers Food Share (SNAP) benefits for the purchase of CSA shares.

Learn more about the many diverse, locally owned and operated farms in Wisconsin, how to choose a CSA farm, and the CSA Health Insurance Rebates at the FairShare CSA Coalition website, www.csacoalition.org. Find profiles of all 48 FairShare farms, a searchable pick-up locations map, a farm search tool, and more.

Email info@csacoalition.org or call 608-226-0300 for more information about any of FairShare's programs.


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