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Agriculture expo promotes local farms

Brooke Hafs, News Writer
March 13, 2013
Filed under News

New Leaf Foods, Inc. held its Community Supported Agriculture Expo March 2 to promote healthy eating and local farms participating in the New Leaf Market this year.

Lynn Walter, president of New Leaf Foods, Inc. and retired UW-Green Bay anthropology professor, said New Leaf Foods, Inc. works together with Downton Green Bay, Inc. to encourage people to buy local, organic produce.

The CSA Expo was the first event of the year to introduce local vendors to interested buyers before the season begins. Walter said that buyers invest in a share of the farm of their choice. This investment guarantees them a box of produce each week throughout the growing season. These shares support the farms, ensuring the farmers can make it through the season, and in return, shareholders get whatever is growing at the time.

“When strawberries come in, you get strawberries,” Walter said. “When the beets come in, you get beets. They’re not a grocery store. They’re giving you a share of what they have at that time.”

Nancy Kellner, a vendor for New Leaf Foods, Inc. and owner of Kellner Back Acre Gardens, said the best thing about investing in a local CSA is the opportunity for participants to incorporate new vegetables into their lives.

“Something you wouldn’t typically buy comes in your box,” Kellner said. “You may get to try a new vegetable every week.”

Kellner also said buying organic is a great benfefit of buying a share through a CSA.

“You don’t have to worry about pesticides and chemicals with organic,” Kellner said. “People think the cost of organics is so crazy, but it’s really affordable.”

Walter said it was a great place for all types of people to come and learn about what locally grown food is all about.

Kellner agrees that this is something for everyone and said there are different levels of participation for those interested. There is an introductory level, a level for a family of four and a level for a family of six.  Kellner said she also gets college students interested in buying a share.

“We have college students who are very interested in the health benefits of getting involved in a CSA,” Kellner said. “They’re learning in school that buying locally is a good thing. They also want to get their greens and some say they make smoothies with the produce.”

Another way students are getting involved with the CSA is by becoming vendors themselves.

“One of my former students at UWGB is a New Foods Farmer,” Walter said.

Walter said the expo was designed to draw in the community to learn more about CSAs. Some vendors brought in products to sell and advertise what shareholders can expect to receive in a box. Walter said Kellner brought in honey to show her interested buyers.

Kellner, who has been part of the CSA for eight years, said this year’s expo at Kavarna got her a lot of interested new buyers.

“It got us out there to let people know they can buy local and that we do everything organically and sustainably,” Kellner said. “It’s nice that people are supporting people from their own community.”

Overall, Walter said they received positive remarks on the expo from both interested buyers and the vendors themselves.

“The expo was a great success,” Walter said. “Several people signed up and more brought home flyers to continue researching before making a decision on which farm to go with.”

Kellner encourages more people to participate in CSAs.

Walter said the organization plans to host the event again next year due to its popularity.