Squash: In Beaman, it’s not a sport

When Mom says,”Eat fresh veggies,” you can no longer say, “Oh, but it’s a long, long walk to the grocery store.”

Beginning this summer, Beaman will become a drop-off point for Real Food Farm’s CSA program, giving students and faculty an opportunity to purchase a weekly supply of fresh organic vegetables at an affordable price. The partnership will continue into the 2012 academic year,

CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture, “represents a pairing of consumers who desire fresh, local produce with nearby growers who desire a stable and appreciative market for their produce,” according to the Belmont CSA proposal.

Members of a CSA buy a share of a farm’s harvest for a designated growing season, usually 20 weeks, and pick up weekly deliveries of fresh vegetables at a designated drop-off spot. The benefits of a CSA are a steady income for the farmer, a relationship between you and where your food comes from, and a reliable source of fresh, locally grown vegetables from week to week.

Farmer Dave and Farmer John run Real Food Farm Nashville, doing their jobs in mud-caked boots and gardeners’ hats while their blond dog Sadie frolics lazily through the farm.

“Better, we want to be better farmers,” John said, standing outside their large shed with the touring group of Slow Food Belmont students, the environmental club that proposed the Belmont partnership.

“We have the spirit of guys with ingenuity,” Dave said.

Slow Food Belmont leaders Megan Gibson and Zerlinda

Jessee spearheaded the proposal for Belmont to allow Real Food Farms to have a drop-off site on campus.

“I did a lot of research, and emailed about 10 different farms,” Gibson said. “A lot of them immediately said no, but Farmer David wanted to meet with me the very next day.”

They talked about what they wanted to do, and now they will do it.

“What [Slow Food Belmont] is here for is to promote sustainability in our food consumption, enjoying food, eating food slowly, making things slowly and using the best ingredients,” she said.

The summer program starts May 15, and the food comes in cedar boxes handmade by Dave’s dad. To get a summer enrollment form, email Megan Gibson at belmont@slowfoodusa.org. A whole share is $800, a half share, is $550, and a student share is $200. Respectively, that’s $40, $27.50, and $10 a week.

“We want to make the vegetables as easy as possible for people,” John said. “Weekly recipes, updates about the context of the next week’s drop-off and a newsletter are some ways they try to do that. And you can change or drop your share at any time to receive a refund of whatever you have left.

“I really hope that people walking through the Beaman and seeing other people picking up their boxes will think, ‘Oh, I’d really like to do that,” Gibson said. “I hope to get a lot more students who probably aren’t involved in something like this.”

#CommunitySupportedAgriculture #CSA #slowfoodmovement

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