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Weekly local food basket sign-ups set for March 2

by UofL Today last modified Feb 22, 2011 10:09 AM

Faculty, staff and students who want to eat more locally grown foods can sign up at a campus Community Supported Agriculture Fair to receive weekly food baskets through the growing season.

The event will take place March 2 at the Red Barn from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., said Mitchell Payne, UofL's associate vice president of business affairs.

A shuttle will run from the Health Sciences Center, with pick up at the shuttle stop on Preston and drop off at the University Club circle. The shuttle will make three runs at 11 a.m., noon and 1 p.m. Returns from the University Club circle to the Preston shuttle stop will be at 11:45 a.m., 12:45 p.m. and 2 p.m.

This is the third straight year that UofL is linking local farmers and buyers. More than 100 people on campus signed up last year.

CSAs are a way to allow people to "partner" with local farms. They benefit the local economy by supporting local agriculture, are good for the environment because food travels fewer miles to the consumer and give people access to fresh fruits and vegetables.

This is how it works:

  • Faculty, staff and students who are interested in the CSA program should attend the Belknap Campus fair to meet local farmers and decide which farm they'd like to partner with for the growing season.
  • Those who decide to participate will sign up directly with a local farm to purchase a season's worth of produce.
  • The farms will deliver food baskets to Lutz Hall in the center of Belknap Campus from late April to the end of the growing season, usually sometime in October.

Contents of the baskets and prices of the service vary from farm to farm, Payne said.

Besides seasonal fruits and vegetables, some farms also may offer such items as cheese, baked goods and preserves.

A survey of CSA participants conducted after the program ended last year showed that most people who purchased CSA shares are willing to buy those and other easy-to-prepare foods from local farmers, Payne said.

Farmers who deliver food to UofL must be certified through the Kentucky Department of Agriculture's Good Agricultural Practices program, which sets guidelines to assure food is free of contamination.

Also in March, local farmers are being invited to sign up as vendors at the Gray Street Farmers Market on UofL's Health Sciences Campus.

That market drew nearly 200 people a week last year and reported average weekly sales of $3,700. It will operate every Thursday this year from May 19 to Oct. 27 on the 400 block of East Gray Street.

Both efforts support the university's goal to be a more sustainable campus.

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