Last summer the Food Bank kicked off its first year of the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. We had a tremendous response from both our Sponsor and Community Shareholders. We had a few hiccups here and there (ugh the rain!), but overall the program was a great success. We distributed more than 45,000 pounds of locally-grown produce to Delawareans of all income levels.
Our token incentive plan was a huge success as well. SNAP recipients received matching tokens for every dollar they spent on their shares. Of the approximately 10,000 tokens distributed, 99 percent were redeemed at other participating vendors at the Wilmington Farmers’ Market at Cool Springs Park. This not only doubled participants food benefits, but also added to the local economy. Community shareholders reported an increase in vegetable consumption, lower cholesterol levels and overall better health. This couldn’t make us happier.
We agreed with our participants that there was room for improvement, and we listened to those suggestions! I think you’ll agree – this upcoming season will be even better! As we plan for spring, I’d like to share with everyone the updates we plan to implement for the 2014 season:
- Produce will be sourced from several different local farmers for a better variety including more fruit, mushrooms and fresh herbs!
- Shares will be packed in individual coolers to maintain freshness (no more wilted greens!).
- Shareholder discounts at local restaurants.
- More pickup locations (Hello Dover & Milford!).
- More payment options.
- Special college student rates (15 percent off!).
- Food demos every week at Cool Spring Park (plus yummy samples!).
- Less paper/plastic bags.
We will still have our end-of-season dinner for all of our shareholders. I can’t wait to see what delicious treats our chef comes up with this year! Share prices will remain the same at a very reasonable $500/full share or $250/half share. With the new payment options, you can stretch that out over five months or 18 weeks to be even more budget-friendly.
Remember, each Sponsor Share allows us to support 2 ½ low-income shares for Delawareans in need. To join or to learn more, please visit our website www.fbd.org/program/csa!