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Northwest VEG is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Portland, OR that works to educate and encourage people to make vegan choices for a healthy, sustainable, and compassionate world.

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Get to Know YOUR Farmer
April 1, 2013
by Shari Sirkin, owner of Dancing Roots Farm and member of the Portland Area CSA Coalition

You eat a plant-based diet or are on your way there. But do you know where your food is coming from? How fresh was that head of lettuce you just picked up at the store? If only there was a way to insure that your produce was picked at its peak and didn't have to travel hundreds of miles to get to your plate. Well, if you live in the greater Portland area, you are in luck! The Portland Area CSA Coalition is here to help you connect with your very own farmer who will give you the ability to know how your produce is grown as well as provide you and your family with the freshest, healthiest food around.

What is a CSA you ask? A CSA or Community Supported Agriculture is a relationship between you and a farmer. Like joining a gym, you pay a membership fee for a season, and instead of weight machines and spinning classes, your primary benefit is a weekly basket of produce, harvested at its peak of flavor and nutrition. Some farms also provide recipes and host field days. Other benefits include knowing what goes into growing your food and supporting a strong local food system.

So how does CSA work? First you find the farm that is right for you. We have many CSAs in our region, and each is a little different. Box sizes vary, as do pick up days and locations; some are designed for vegetable-loving families of four and some are for two people or even individuals. Some farms are certified organic, some follow biodynamic practices, some use minimal animal products. Share prices vary by size and the length of the farmís season, often late May or June through October, though some farms go year round or offer winter shares only. Most farms have systems for paying in installments rather than one lump sum.

If you want to make healthier, more sustainable and compassionate food choices, join a CSA and get to know your farmer! Many farms have memberships available, but they often fill up so donít wait until May. Contact the Portland Area CSA Coalition (PACSAC) so they can help you find your farmer today.

If you interested in working with a veganic (vegan + organic) farm contact Northwest VEG business partner, Hidden Oasis CSA, LLC at 360-256-6896 or mailto:tmaxwell@mail2.cu-portland.edu.

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