Growing Local Farms One Share at a Time
The agriculture community is the driving force of our society. They grow the food that feeds our bodies and allows us to be strong enough to strive greatness and change our world. Without farmers and their crops, we do not eat which means we dwindle to non-existence. In times of economic uncertainty, everyone needs financial support. “Community Supported Agriculture” (CSA), helps farmers keep food on our tables by selling stock in their farms to members of the community. These stocks give customers a chance to know exactly where their food is coming from and who grows it.
The CSA Fair in Urbana is sponsored by Urbana’s Market at the Square which is a local farmers market that runs during the warmer months. You can see a schedule and more events here. However, if you don’t want to wait until May to start looking into your fresh veggies, meats, cheese, etc., then maybe a CSA is for you. The CSA Fair brings potential customers together with growers to get a feel of what each business has to offer. One of the organizers of the Fair, Sterling Bollman, says “This is a change for the farmers to sell basically shares of their farm… but instead of getting a money or financial payout every week or every month, people can get their produce or their farms in a little basket.” This almost subscription-like service lets customers get the goods that they want and can end the service at any time.
Stan Shutte, the owner of Triple S Farms in Champaign, raises animals to make beef, pork, and chicken products. When asked what kinds of cuts he provides to his customers, his excited reply was, ” Anything they want. They pick and choose. We have close to two hundred items.” His company’s slogan is “We Grow Taste,” but when I asked him what he did to make the meat taste better, he said it was a trade secret. Stan is a full supporter of farms and says everyone needs a farmer.
A community’s agriculture scene is a great way to see what that community is like. Lyssa Pustis is a newcomer to Illinois and she uses events like the Market at the Square and the CSA Fair to see what her new home has to offer. “I’m originally from Oregon so that’s a whole different gamma of what’s available.” She also uses these outlets to get ideas for her own garden.
While a farmer’s work is never done, neither is the search for new opportunities to discover new and exciting things in the world of produce. From produce to fresh meat and flowers, there is a CSA for everyone.
To experience the CSA Fair, please click here
Link to script, please click here
This was a really great assignment. I learned more about the agriculture community and that is always something that I strive to do. I hail from a farming community, but I never really had a chance to learn about how farming work from a business standpoint. Everyone at this fair was so nice and willing to talk about what they do and you can tell they love farming. I spoke to a woman that grew flowers (see the gorgeous bouquet pictured at the top) and she was so cool to talk to and I found out she had this massive garden, which didn’t surprise me. That is what I love about this job, I love talking with people and once we are both comfortable with each other then we are able to have these amazing conversations. Since I started the Broadcast program, I have talked to so many people who had these stellar stories that I had the pleasure of telling viewers. When I get stressed about life and wonder if I chose the right field of study, I think about these people and think to myself, “Do you really think you would rather be sitting at a desk or going on mini adventures all the time, seeking out these awesome characters?” Then I realize…..Yeah, I chose the right one.