Brian Jacobson

Open House at UEC showcases Community Supported Agriculture

By - Mar 19th, 2012 04:00 am

There were carrots, eggs, honey, and other edible goods at the Urban Ecology Center‘s Riverside location on Saturday, but it wasn’t a Farmers’ Market—even with the presence of Tigerbite and Vegan food trucks. Instead, it was an opportunity for locals to get to know 18 different CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Farms represented inside the three-story complex at 1500 E. Park Place. Nestled along the bike trail and utilizing every inch of the slope with composting, birdhouses, rain barrels and a lookout tower, the UEC was filled to capacity during this informative networking event.

As we arrived at 11:30, one room was packed with an audience getting an introduction to how CSAs work from Community Programming Coordinator Jamie Ferschinger. Later, professional pastry chef Annie Wegner LeFort talked to another packed room about ways to cook from your received box of produce. The final presenter, Lynn Markham, hosted a talk that is more timely than ever given the recent findings on honeybees. The UW-Extension Agent discussed pesticides and how how food choices affect our health and safe drinking water.

Outside these rooms, representatives from places such as Bolzano Artisan Meats (heirloom pork salami made from local hogs raised without hormones or antibiotics), Pinehold Gardens (Milwaukee County-based produce farmed in bio-sustaining ways using solar power to run farm and household electricity), and Three Sisters Community Farm (biodynamic produce with honey share and home delivery) shared information with the event attendees.

The idea behind a CSA is that the consumer buys a “share” from a farmer and in return receives a “box” of seasonally-based goods when the harvest is ready. Payment plans, worker shared labor, Quest cards, and even an Assistance Fund are just some of the ways to buy into a CSA, and in return the consumer contributes to fair compensation to farmers and encourages sustainable growing practices. In addition, some of the reps on-hand were able to make contact with those wanting to find out more about canning and preserving methods.

We took a stroll through the facility and enjoyed the early spring weather. You can view the complete photo set below in our slideshow or visit the Flickr set here.

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