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Community supported agriculture in Gilpin County

Access to fresh, wholesome, and healthy food

By Arwen Ek

Last Saturday morning, over 300 pounds of produce was delivered to the High Country Professional Building where volunteers brought the produce inside, and quickly started sorting, cleaning, and counting. By noon, members of the Holistic Homestead CSA started arriving, bags in hand ready to pick up their share of tomatoes, onions, carrots, oranges, apples, lettuce, broccoli, potatoes and more. Eyes grew wide at the abundant spread of fresh organic fruits and vegetables, and everyone left with a smile – and more than they could carry!

CSA is Community Supported Agriculture – a way for communities to pool their resources to encourage local, small farmers and to bring fresh produce into rural areas. Traditionally, CSA members pay anywhere from $300 to $400 at the beginning of the growing season – this goes directly to the farmers to buy seeds, soil, water and labor. Once the harvest starts, members gather once or twice a month to pick up their share of whatever is fresh and in-season.

The Holistic Homestead, as a nonprofit dedicated to improving the health of our community, surveyed Gilpin County to find out what was needed most. The answer? Access to fresh, wholesome, and healthy food. While the CSA model is a proven strategy to accomplish this, not many of us can afford $400 upfront for all our produce needs during the summer and fall. Also, The Holistic Homestead is still looking for folks who grow enough produce in Gilpin County to sell.

The solution is to go through Colorado Fresh Produce, a broker for small, organic farmers, to purchase fruits and vegetables in bulk. As a broker, Colorado Fresh Produce is able to supply organic produce year round, and with a greater variety than what we could profitably grow in Gilpin County in the winter, including oranges, bananas, and lettuce. With a minimum of 10 people who pre-paid for their share, The Holistic Homestead was able to place the first order, and have it delivered and picked-up on the same day.

After everyone picks up their share, the remaining produce is donated to the Gilpin Food Bank.

Membership is on a monthly basis – only $30/month for a full share. The more members, the greater the selection, and soon the Homestead hopes to increase pick-up days to twice a month. Learn more at theholistichomestead.org. Questions or to sign up today e-mail arwen@theholistichomestead.org or call (303) 582-3001.

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