Community Supported Agriculture is growing in Robbinsdale
Karma Unverzagt is the latest Robbinsdale resident who has designated herself as a drop-off site for Ploughshare Farm.
After reading about Community Supported Agriculture – where individuals support local farms by purchasing shares and in return receive produce – in a Sun Post article two years ago, Unverzagt and her husband purchased a plot share of crops from the Alexandria farm and now receive fresh produce once a week, June through the end of fall.
“Organic vegetables are expensive, and I was looking for a better way to purchase them,” Unverzagt said. “I knew there was a drop-site in Robbinsdale so I took advantage of it.”
For the past two summers, Unverzagt has picked up her basket of produce from a Robbinsdale resident. As a teacher who has summers off, Unverzagt has made the decision to also become a drop-off site for Ploughshare Farm. Individual’s living in the area that have shares with the farm will now be able to pick up their vegetables from Unverzagt’s home near North Memorial Hospital.
“It’s every Thursday,” Unverzagt said on the dates produce can be picked up. “I decided to be a drop-off site because I believe in the program.”
Depending on the weather and what’s in season, produce drops from Ploughshare Farm range from leafy greens, kale, broccoli, squash, melons, tomatoes, egg plant, brussels sprouts and everything in between.
For those less than popular veggies, Gary Brever, owner of Ploughshare Farm, supplies shareholders with recipes at every drop.
“It’s a wide variety, some things I’ve never heard of,” Unverzagt said. “I’ve eaten things I never would have. It’s been really fun. Gary sends out recipes with every share, and it’s fun to see if other people have liked them.”
What helped make Unverzagt’s decision about buying a share was that it allowed her to give her two young children the opportunity to see where their food comes from.
“It keeps my kids healthy and it eliminates toxins,” she said. “I like to know where my food comes from and I think my kids need to know it’s not coming from a grocery store. They are connecting with the food and they see that we are having fun with our veggies.”
Ploughshare Farm is certified organic and does not use pesticides, Brever said.
“We don’t put them on our crops,” he said. “It’s how we treat our soil and crops. We are feeding the microbes, worms and bugs so that the vegetables our members receive is the most nutrient, rich, freshest food that is available.”
Plowshare Farm grows more than 40 types of crops with 100 varieties items. Of the 160 acres, Brever grows 20 acres in vegetables.
A full-share has 10-15 kinds of fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs and ranges from seven to 12 pounds in the spring and more than 25 pounds in late summer and early fall. A mini-share has six to eight kinds of fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs and is 50-60 percent the weight of the full-share.
“The beauty of a CSA is you get a box of fresh produce and even though you may only know what to do with the lettuce, we offer recipes and tips on how to use these other items and to increase knowledge and make cooking exciting again,” said Brever, who was named “2012 Outstanding Farmer of Minnesota” by the Jaycees.
Always interested in environmental and social justice, Brever hopes that his farm will help bridge the gap between people living in the country and people living in the city.
“It’s important to know where and how our food is grown,” he said. “We’ve become alienated from our food. People should have a relationship with where their food comes from. Our lives are sustained by what we put into our mouths.”
Contact Anna Woodwick at firstname.lastname@example.org