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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Fresh veggies from local farms with CSA

In a Grinnellian’s life filled with numerous acronyms—NSO, JRC, ARH—it is easy to let any one of them go in one ear and out the other. However, it is important not to pass over the not-so-familiar acronym of CSA lest you never get to experience its delectable goodness and use its plentiful nutrients to fuel our studies.

CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) is a program that supports local farms in the Grinnell area by offering the College’s students and the city’s inhabitants with the opportunity to purchase produce from their crops.

According to the Grinnell Heritage Farm website, “[CSA] is a weekly subscription program for vegetables. More broadly, CSA is a way for consumers and farmers to join together in support of local agriculture.”

Melissa and Andy Gunham, the owners of Grinnell Heritage Farm, have been facilitating CSA in the area since 2008. The farm pledges each week’s share of the farm’s harvest.

“You can count on a wide variety of vegetables and herbs, including familiar—carrots, potatoes, and beans—unusual—romanesco and celeriac—items as well as heirloom varieties,” M. Gunham said.

The farm currently fills 220 boxes on a weekly basis, according to M. Gunham, which is then distributed to subscribing families, working professionals and college students in the greater Grinnell community.

The Durhams explained the rewarding aspect of CSA, both for the farm and the recipients of vegetables.

“We are growing a product that we believe in,” M. Durham said. “It is good for people and the CSA allows us to build a relationship with members of the community.”

Grinnell students make up a significant part of the CSA community, according to the Durhams, and a number of students have begun to take advantage of these local food options by purchasing a share or splitting the subscription with a friend or housemate.
Emily Stanfield ’12, Amy Linder ’14 and Margot McKlveen ’13, residents of Eco-House, serve as just one example of student share-splitters.
The decision to subscribe to CSA, according to Stanfield, was a no-brainer.

“It is delicious food, it is healthy, organic, so local—all things I love. We are supporting a local farmer and our local economy and good food, not to mention the fact that it is very cost effective.”

Housemate McKlveen agreed, explaining the adventurous aspect of the share.

“In a way it just reminds me of home as it is something that my family has done for ages,” she said. “The fun part is that you get something different each week and you have to be creative and willing to try new recipes.”

The trio can be found cooking together one night a week to share the bounty from their share. The ladies of Eco-House are more than satisfied with their CSA share.

“I love the idea of CSA,” Linder said. “I think everyone should have one. CSA is the best way to get fresh fruits and vegetables when you don’t have time to have a garden.”

You can browse the CSA options online at or call with questions to (641)-236-4374.

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