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Banking on farmer-eater connections

Meet and talk directly to the local farmers who grow our food at the 2016 CSA Share Fair — March 19 at the Redd on Salmon Street

By Lola Milholland, Share Fair organizer

This Saturday, March 19, the Portland CSA Coalition will host the CSA Share Fair at the Redd on Salmon Street. Forty-one farmers from the Portland area will set up shop early that morning. Steaming cups of coffee will be passed from hand to hand. Baskets will be filled with early-season greens and stored winter vegetables. Farmer-eater matchmakers will review their lists while farmers perfect their pitches.

The doors open at 10am, when you and your family are invited to enter and meet and talk directly to the local farmers, ranchers, and fishers who grow our food and use the CSA model.

Community supported agriculture (CSA) is a growing movement that connects eaters and farmers. This is a win-win: You get a healthy, fresh, farm-direct food share every week, and your farmer gets freedom and security. Other benefits of CSA shares include getting to know your farmer, eating more vegetables, supporting a local business, connecting with your food, and investing in low-impact farming practices that protect our drinking water, soils, and wildlife habitat.

“The CSA farming model sets forth a unique market structure that intentionally creates more symbiotic relationships between farmers and eaters, who are investing in each other’s health and success.”

A sponsor of this year’s CSA Share Fair, Umpqua Bank plays an important role in supporting our regional food system. Resilient systems need more than just those who grow and eat the food; they also include the larger-scale investors and spaces that facilitate the interaction of eaters and growers.

Umpqua Bank demonstrates strong community responsibility by creating these very spaces in their banks, where strangers meet, CSA members pick up their shares, communities are invited to host events, and more. Umpqua Bank also offers financial support to local initiatives and provides its associates with 40 hours paid time off per year to volunteer with community organizations. This kind of stewardship and devotion to partnership builds place-based communities in which regional food systems thrive.

Be sure to join us at the Redd on Salmon Street on March 19th from 10am to 2pm. Meet and talk directly to regional farmers, sign up for your CSA share, and celebrate the coming season of local eating and growing. Find out more here.