For Brian and Harper, CSA membership was so much more than just the food.
When Brian found himself temporarily unemployed, he worried about how to provide healthy food for his 4-year-old daughter, Harper, on a limited budget.
Then he saw an advertisement for our Adelante Mujeres Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. Our CSA allows community members to buy fruits and vegetables directly from local farmers by paying in advance to receive a weekly share of produce throughout the growing season.
Because you support our programs, we can accept SNAP and Double Up Food Bucks benefits for CSA shares. With that assistance, Brian was able to afford a CSA share and not only provide healthy food for his daughter, but bond with her in the kitchen as well.
Although he had tried CSA once before, he did not think he would able to afford it this year. But because of your support, our Sustainable Agriculture program works hard to provide low-income families with access to healthy food.
Your donations make it possible for us to accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits and match dollars through Double Up Food Bucks (DUFB). With these benefits, Brian was able to afford to buy a CSA share for himself and his daughter.
“With SNAP taking a portion of the cost and DUFB taking another portion, it really made a difference for us,” Brian said. “I ended up paying just a small little bit to get such an amazing amount of food.”
Brian hoped the CSA would supplement his grocery bill and help feed his family, but he did not anticipate all the other wonderful benefits the program would bring.
Every week, Brian and Harper would pick up their share together, empty bags in tow, excited to see all the new fresh produce their weekly share would offer.On the way home, he would talk to her about the fruits and vegetables, where they come from, how they grow, and the best ways to use them in the kitchen.
At home, Brian and Harper started spending more quality time together, cooking and eating their “daddy-daughter dinners,” and trying out new recipes. And because our CSA provides recipes and online groups for discussion, there was no shortage of ideas and support.
For Brian, membership in a CSA really was about more than just the food.
“Instead of just going to the grocery store or farmers market, you are getting part of your community,” Brian reflected. “You are connecting to someone who really wants to grow something and share it with their neighbor.”
Double Up Food Bucks is made possible by Farmers Market Fund, a Portland area nonprofit. The program provides matching funds for SNAP dollars at local markets and also matches funds to supplement the costs of CSA membership for low-income families.
Not only does our CSA give families like Brian’s access to healthy food, it also supports local Latino farmers as they work to turn their farms into thriving businesses because shares purchased in the spring give farmers income that they can count on throughout the growing season.
Brian would recommend CSA membership to other families, even if they are on a tight budget. “At the time, I found myself needing SNAP benefits for a year or two,” said Brian. “But I was able to get back on my feet through programs like the Adelante Mujeres CSA. Now, I have an amazing job, and I feel like I can start to give back to the community.”
With your support, the CSA enriched Brian and Harper’s lives in ways he never would have expected.
“The bonding at dinner time and my daughter being able to see where her food comes from and understand the whole full-circle process from farm to table was just amazing. You can’t put a dollar value on that.”