Last summer, the FRESH Food Hub in Norwood supplied 30 families in Mountain Village with CSA (community supported agriculture) produce boxes. The 14-week program was funded by the Town of Mountain Village, which had a surplus of funds the town wanted to use for low-income community members, officials said. Again, the CSA project is set to continue this summer, and now the Food Hub board of directors is planning on opening it up to Telluride and Norwood folks, too.
Leila Seraphin, co-founder and co-director of the Food Hub, said that the Mountain Village government financed nearly all of the costs of last year’s produce boxes. Recipient families had to qualify to receive them, though. The Local Food Initiative — a Telluride Foundation-based program focused on nutrition, the local food economy and supporting local farmers — also donated funds to supplement the labor on the project.
Last year’s contributing producers who made the boxes possible were Ann LeFevre, who leased Indian Ridge Farm’s garden space, along with Sam Andrews, another Norwood farmer. They stocked the CSA boxes with surplus crops they raised.
Additionally, another farm, Mountain Roots of Mancos, was contracted to participate in the Village program.
Seraphin said the program was a success, and because of it, the Food Hub now wants to expand the program, making the same boxes available for purchase to anyone in Norwood, and also in Telluride through delivery.
“We thought, ‘We are already doing the project for other people —why not offer it to the general public?’” Seraphin said.
According to her, the CSA boxes are a great way to help LeFevre and Andrews distribute their excess yields, outside of what the Food Hub can’t purchase from those farmers for the shop.
She added that the Food Hub established an online delivery system last year, and that the internet option (freshfoodhub.net) makes it easy for shoppers to purchase a CSA.
The basic vegetable box will be priced at $30, and Seraphin said fruit additions are also available. Shoppers can add on other items, too, like eggs, meat, bulk goods and more. She said the CSAs will be delivered to Telluride on Tuesdays to the Carhenge parking lot; they will be available for pickup in Norwood on Tuesdays from 3-7 p.m., when the Grand Avenue shop is open.
On Wednesdays, Food Hub representatives will work at the Mountain Village Farmers Market, and then also distribute the CSAs to the families who qualify for complimentary boxes through their town government. Again this year, she said the Mountain Village municipality, along with the Local Food Initiative, is funding the low-income program.
“They initiated this for their community, and we are just providing a service with our produce,” she said.
Seraphin said that besides feeding the public and supplying them with locally-grown nutritious food, the CSAs serve other purposes.
“It’s a great way to get a variety box, from a few different farms, and it’s a nice way to support the farmers and get some West End representation,” she said. “It’s great that people are producing here, and we want them to be represented.”