By Lola Milholland, Share Fair organizer
Growers and eaters will mingle, chefs will teach, and farmer matchmakers will create lasting partnerships based on the community supported agriculture (CSA) model. We will all celebrate the coming harvest season on March 19, 10am-2pm, at the CSA Share Fair, put on by Portland CSA Coalition.
More than 40 local farmers, ranchers, and fishers will showcase CSA options, including vegetables, fruits, pastured meats, wild fish, eggs, flowers, honey, and more. Sign up for a CSA share, learn new skills at the multiple cooking demos throughout the day, entertain the kids with Zenger Farm’s traveling chicken coop, and refill your cookbook shelf at the annual cookbook swap meet. Find a list of these and other activities here.
One of the sponsors this year’s fair, Organic Valley, is known for its many dairy products, but you may not have realized that 59 family farmers in Oregon and Washington are owners of Organic Valley.
Organic Valley is the brand and face of a national cooperative of approximately 1,800 organic family farmers called CROPP Cooperative. Organic Valley / CROPP Cooperative exists to ensure that farmers make a good living and continue to farm organically. This mission empowers the co-op to make powerful choices, including boosting like-minded efforts like the CSA Share Fair. It also means that one of the core values of the co-op is a stable pay price for farmers. Not unlike CSA payments, the stable pay price lets farmers make and manage a solid budget.
Additionally, by working collectively, the farmers of Organic Valley are able to do what they love — farm — while operating in the marketplace as a larger company. They can meet minimums for local processors, coordinate distribution, and much more. They can also invest in the things that matter most to them.