City Fresh CSA comes to Coventry
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is building healthy, sustainable communities and, through a program called City Fresh, a new CSA has come to Cleveland Heights. Participants can pick up weekly shares of fresh, local produce every Tuesday this summer, next to the Coventry Village Library. The program began June 9 and will run for 20 weeks.
The City Fresh CSA is part of the New Agrarian Center (NAC), a nonprofit organization that has been at the epicenter of Cleveland's local food revival for the past decade.
The inspiration behind City Fresh was to end food deserts—neighborhoods in Greater Cleveland where there are few or no stores where fresh produce can be found. City Fresh supplies these neighborhoods with fresh produce and offers reduced pricing for families or individuals with limited incomes.
Unlike most CSA programs, in which a shareholder must pay for the entire season up-front, City Fresh orders can be placed for the whole season, monthly, or just for a single week. City Fresh offers individual shares for $15 ($9 for limited-income individuals) and family shares for $28 ($17 for limited-income families).
On the morning of a drop-off day, City Fresh farm liaisons visit nearly a dozen farms within a 70-mile radius of downtown Cleveland. The farms are mostly Amish family farms, but also include the George Jones Farm, a 70-acre research farm and nature preserve in Oberlin. At the farms, liaisons load the City Fresh truck with ripe fruits and vegetables, picked no more than 24 hours before the trucks arrive.
City Fresh then makes the rounds to designated “Fresh Stops” throughout Cuyahoga and Lorain counties, where shareholders can pick up their weekly shares. Each of the 16 Fresh Stops are run by volunteers ready to take orders for the following week and answer questions about the program and the produce.
Is there something in your basket you don’t like or are allergic to? No problem. Every Fresh Stop has a "barter table," where shareholders can place any unwanted item and swap it with another shareholder’s unwanted produce.
To learn more about City Fresh, or to volunteer, visit www.cityfresh.org, come to the Fresh Stop next to the Coventry Village Library any Tuesday this summer, 5–7 p.m., or call City Fresh at 216-469-0904.
Erika Dunyak is the community liaison for City Fresh.