By Lou Ryan
A nonprofit organic cooperative of 75 farmers in Lancaster County is looking to add Kutztown as a distribution site for its community supported agriculture program this spring. The CSA, which currently delivers to locations on Md., Del., Philadelphia, New York, and Washington, is a subscription program that provides fresh, certified organic fruits, vegetables, and other farm products to anyone who signs up to be a shareholder.
Julia Zion, a current shareholder, is behind the movement to bring the program to Kutztown. According to her, the closest distribution sites for the CSA are in Wyomissing and at the Reading hospital. If she can get enough people to sign up for shares in Kutztown—the co-op needs a minimum of 30 to make the distribution site viable—it will be the northernmost distribution site in Berks County.
Zion decided to become a siteholder for LFFC to make healthy, organic food more accessible for Kutztown students. “I really want students to know that there are other alternatives to the food on campus,” she said in an email. “As much as there are meal plans, I’m not sure the options are the best, especially for a vegetarian.”
While CSAs seem expensive, customers are paying for the process of growing the foods in addition to the vegetables themselves. Shareholders help support sustainable agriculture from the production side, keeping local farms and food safe for future generations.
LFFC does, however, have programs to help low-income people. The Fresh Food Fund is funded by shareholders who donate a little extra when signing up for their own CSA. People in need fill out an application to show they qualify. According to Zion, who has benefited from the program, the process is simple. LFFC also allows people to divide payments into smaller amounts if they need to.
Zion originally wanted to host a site in Kutztown for the fall season starting Nov. 7, 2013, but was unable to garner enough interest in time. Anyone who already signed up for a fall share in Kutztown will receive an email from LFFC with an option of choosing an alternate site or getting a refund.
More information about the spring and summer season will be available in January. To learn more, visit lancasterfarmfresh.com.