Green Life: Growing Your Own Food, Together

Community Supported Agriculture a Growing Trend (Literally)

BEND, Ore. - A growing trend in Central Oregon right now is getting your vegetables from a local farm through a program called Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA for short.

CSA is a way you can get all of your vegetables, fresh and locally grown, without raising them all by yourself. I took a tour Thursday to find out how it's going in the early season.

"It's a direct farm-to-plate kind of relationship," said Chris Casad, the owner of Juniper Jungle Permaculture Farm on Bend?s east side.

In his greenhouse, a toasty 90 degrees on a 50-degree day, lettuce, spinach and radishes have already broken ground. In the fields, carrots and other vegetables are growing under the cover of large tarps.

Like many small farms, Juniper Jungle Farm has found a market in selling locally. Through a CSA, they sell shares, ranging from $270 (for feeding two people) to $720 (feeding six people).

?We're getting the funds that we need to, you know, make the farm go and continue on. And then the customer gets a box of vegetables once a week," said Casad.

Signing up is not without its risk: If a crop fails, everyone misses out.

But CSAs provide other benefits, like the chance for customers to visit the farm. Juniper Jungle Farm will let customers get their hands dirty and explore oddities like the "bunny tractors," basically raised bunny coops that let the droppings fall as fertilizer.

If you are considering joining a CSA, the Website provides a listing of several local farms that participate.

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