Joining a CSA (or Community Supported Agriculture) program connects you directly with local farms in your community. ASAP (Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project) offers several events and resources to learn more about CSAs, in which members buy a “share” of a farm’s harvest upfront and receive a weekly box of fresh produce or other farm goods. ASAP will host a virtual CSA Fair on March 10 from 4 to 6 p.m. on Zoom. In addition, Full Share, a free guide listing 60 CSA farms in the Appalachian Grown region, is available now at farmers markets and community centers throughout the region as well as digitally at asapconnections.org/find-local-food/csa.
The virtual CSA Fair will feature farms providing CSAs in Buncombe County and the surrounding region. In addition to traditional produce farms, the fair will include farms with meat and flower CSA programs. The virtual fair will have a similar format as live fairs in the past—a relaxed setting where attendees can talk to farmers about their CSA programs, products, growing practices, and more. Attendees can sign up for CSAs during the fair or follow up with farmers later. The fair is free to attend, but participants do need to register for the event to get a Zoom link.
For farmers, the CSA Fair is a chance to build relationships, even if attendees decide not to purchase a share. “[The customers we meet at the CSA Fair] tend to really want to know the farmer and the food, meaning they are a bit more adventurous when it comes to trying new things,” says K.P. Whaley of Tiny Bridge Farm. “They are interested in knowing how and what we are growing, and really want us to be successful as a farm operation. We may get some customers from the fair and that’s great. But we also start building relationships with future customers.”
Participating farms at press time include Bearwallow Valley Farms, Blazing Star Flowers, Colfax Creek Farm, Creekside Farm, Hickory Nut Gap Farm, Olivette Farm, and Tiny Bridge Farm, with more farms to be added before the fair. Check asapconnections.org/events/csa-fair for updates and to register.
ABOUT ASAP (APPALACHIAN SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE PROJECT)
ASAP’s mission is to help local farms thrive, link farmers to markets and supporters, and build healthy communities through connections to local food. To learn more, visit asapconnections.org.