Fresh Produce Box for Businesses
The Mission of the Tri County Fresh Food Hub is to increase fresh food access to all and sustain our local growers. Fresh Produce Box (often referred to as CSA – Community Supported Agriculture) participation by businesses is an investment in the health of your employees, organization and our community. The Fresh Produce Box program allows the purchase of a season (a “share”) of produce up front. Buying produce means more than a simple transaction, each purchase is meaningful to the sustainability and promotion of healthy food access to our community in need.Our CSA is named the Tri County Fresh Food Hub. Currently we contract with 10 local (within 60 miles) farmers to obtain our produce. These growers are an LLC called Legacy of the Land. They implement organic growing practices and take tremendous pride in their farm, family and product. Our Urban Agriculture Program will also be growing produce for the Fresh Produce Box Program.
Profits our Foundation makes from selling Fresh Produce Boxes go back into the community in areas with lack of fresh, local produce. We do this via the Mobile Fresh Food Van (obtained from a grant from the City of Peoria). Your purchase supports produce accessibility and nutrition education right from the Van and cooking classes free of charge. Review statistics from the 2016 season here.
Become a Fresh Food Stop for the Van in 2018 and encourage participation in the Fresh Produce Box Program by your employees. We have organizations utilizing payroll deduct, subsidizing all or part of the purchase for employees in need, purchase shares for their employees as a benefit for participating in corporate wellness programs and offer financial incentives for participation via wellness programming.
Individual, family and corporate donations to this cause are used to support programming to make the Fresh Produce Box Program more than just a bag of food. Open to anyone, but targeted to those with unique needs, the delivery locations can support basic health screenings, offer recipes for healthy preparation of the foods and support cooking classes for those with special dietary needs, such as low-sodium diets, and those with diabetes, to name a few.
The following is an excerpt from County Health Rankings and Roadmaps – building a Culture of Health, County by County – A Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Program
Community supported agriculture (CSA) is a partnership between farmers and consumers, where consumers purchase a share of a farm’s products in advance, typically paying in full in the wintertime when farms need capital to prepare for the spring. During the high growing season (roughly May-October), CSA members receive deliveries of vegetables, fruits, and herbs; some CSAs include other farm products such as eggs, meat, milk, cheese, flowers, or baked goods. CSA programs vary by farm and community, however, most feature organic, sustainably raised products, and have pick-up locations in nearby neighborhoods and on the farm. Most CSA programs encourage members to participate in community-building opportunities on the farm with other members; some also encourage members to work on the farm in exchange for reduced membership cost (USDA NAL-Defining CSA, FairShare-How it works).
Expected Beneficial Outcomes (Rated)
Increased access to healthy food
Increased healthy food consumption
Other Potential Beneficial Outcomes
Improved dietary habits
Improved weight status
Strengthened local & regional food systems
Evidence of Effectiveness
Community supported agriculture (CSA) programs are a suggested strategy to increase access to healthy foods and distribute fresh fruits and vegetables from local farms to urban and rural areas (CDC-Local foods, Harmon 2014). Available evidence suggests that CSA participation significantly increases household inventories of fresh fruits and vegetables, and increases fruit and vegetable consumption (Quandt 2013, ). Participation is associated with an increased variety and amount of vegetables consumed for adults and children ( , , ), improved diet ( , Harmon 2014), more cooking at home ( , , Harmon 2014, ), and improved weight status ( ).
CSA programs may help strengthen and improve local and regional food systems and contribute to greater food system sustainability (Zepeda 2014, ). Without subsidized CSA shares, low income households typically cannot afford to participate (Harmon 2014, , ); however, many CSA programs partner with non-profit organizations to offer working shares, subsidized shares, or other lower cost options ( ). Transportation difficulties, inflexible work schedules (Quandt 2013), and time and knowledge required to prepare whole foods (Harmon 2014, ) can also be barriers to CSA participation.). For farmers, the CSA prepayment model can increase cash flow, provide a stable income, and transfer some production risk to consumers (
Environmental and nutritional motivations are associated with choosing to participate in a CSA program (Zepeda 2014). CSA participants frequently have higher education, higher income, and stronger levels of social connectedness than non-participants ( ).,
- Encourage volunteering as an individual, group or department and may include family members in participation. All activities are family friendly and Fun. Examples include helping to maintain community gardens or participate in helping to clean the produce that is delivered weekly at the Tri County Fresh Food Hub.
- Weight loss challenges centered around healthy eating recipes. Encourage the sharing of recipes and dishes by employees as potlucks.
- The gitm Foundation can provide nutrition education from the Mobile Fresh Food Van. The gitm Foundation can provide a series of cooking classes tailored to specific topics (disease state such as hypertension or diabetes or seasonal such as healthy 4th of July celebration…).
- become part of a locally improved food system that supports the local grower and brings jobs back to the community
- build a sense of community and improves commitment to the preservation and health of our own environment
- most importantly, all produce is sold at a marketable price so that cost doesn’t interfere with fresh food access. Profits go back into the program to help offset the cost of programming offered to our region’s food desert areas.
Your organization becomes a Fresh Food Stop for the Van in 2018, encouraging participation in the CSA by your employees. They can purchase a whole season of fresh local produce (every week for 18 weeks), a ½ season (every other week) or split a share with friends or co workers.
We have organizations
- utilizing payroll deduct
- subsidizing all or part of the purchase for employees with need
- purchase shares for their employees as a benefit for participating in corporate wellness programs
- offer financial incentives via wellness program for employees participating in the CSA