Local food baskets offer healthy eating option

By on March 7, 2011

By Rachel Hugenberg

It’s that time of year – time for midterms, Spring Break, Student Government Association elections and locally grown produce.

That’s right – the third annual Community Supported Agriculture Fair was held on Wednesday, March 2. The CSA Fair provides the opportunity for University of Louisville students to interact with local growers each year

“People actually pay in advance for crops that they get,” said Leslie Jackson, president of the Bardstown Road Farmers’ Market

The CSA offers students the chance to buy a season’s worth of local produce up front, which is delivered in the form of a basket once a week.

Farmers from Southern Indiana and from all over Kentucky came to participate in the CSA.

Karen Newton, the director of Health Promotion for Campus Health Services, said that eating locally grown produce is important because it’s healthy and sustainable.

“It helps you to eat foods with high nutrient density,” said Newton.

Eating locally also allows students to widen their selection of produce.

“One of the other advantages is that it encourages us to eat foods that we wouldn’t normally think of buying,” said Newton.

Many college students consume convenience foods on a regular basis, which are often processed. The CSA is a shift away from this current trend.

“This movement will have a positive impact on students’ health because it encourages eating real, unprocessed foods,” said Bess McLaughlin, a senior double major seeking a BFA in 2D studios and communication art and design. “Even people in a big city should know where their food comes from.”

McLaughlin is also the president of Garden Commons, a student group working to develop a community garden on U of L’s campus.

According to the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, eating local and in-season food cuts down on transportation and pollution, as the food does not need to be transported long distances.

With the CSA, students can directly interact with the farmers, choosing which farmer they want to buy their produce from.

The farms vary greatly – from organic produce farmers to Amish growers and canners to cattle farmers. Some of the farmers also offer cheese, herbs and fresh baked bread. Regardless of what is being provided, the foods obtained by students are all fresh and in season.

Although some students may worry about not being able to cook the food items, the CSA provides opportunities for these students. Some of the farmers offer recipes with their baskets. In addition, U of L Health Promotion offers cooking workshops for interested students.

Prices for the CSA baskets range from $150 per season to $550 per season, and the contents of the baskets are listed when students sign up.   

 

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