If you run year-round there are some unique opportunities that come in the summer – particularly if you are in a part of the country where winters are not a growing season. This time of year we see fresh produce more readily available, and in many of our communities we see Farmers’ Markets. Here are a few tips on getting some fresh goods to the students you serve.
- Request a CSA: This stands for Community Supported Agriculture, and means that people pay farmers in advance for a food box (usually weekly) throughout the growing season that offers a variety of seasonal fruits and veggies (and sometimes meats and eggs). It is not uncommon that farmers will donate a weekly box to a local organization. While it may be too late this year (farmers often plan this in the mid to late winter) it is never too late to ask.
- Farmers’ Markets: It is common that farmers do not want to take their produce home with them at the end of the day. Check in to see if they would be willing to give you what they don’t sell.
- Community Gardens: People often end up with a glut of something that grows really well that year. If you have a community garden near you it may be a great idea to hang a flier there with information on how to donate.
- Gleaning: There are a great number of gleaning programs where individuals pick fruits and veggies for local organizations. Often the deal is they get to keep half and donate the other half. Check to see if there are any of these programs in your area and ask to be on the donation list.
- Classes: Are there courses on your campus that focus on things like organic farming, seed research, or other topics in which the class is going to grow edibles? Contact the professor. Often times what is grown is either donated or left to rot. Makes sense that it gets donated to you!