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Celebrating The First CSA Season

Thank you for an amazing inaugural CSA season...

It was a busy harvest!

This was the first CSA season on the Kids’ Food Basket Farm. Many challenges arose, as they tend to do each season with farming. Issues like the heatwaves, heavy-clay soil, bugs, disease and of course the woodchucks – all tried to slow us down. However, through the persistence of our staff and help from hundreds of volunteers, this season was an overwhelming success!

After the final crop is pulled, we will have grown and distributed over 100,000 servings of produce to our community from our farm. Where did all this produce go?  Well, the CSA program received a large portion of our bounty, followed by donations to community partners such as the Community Food Club, and school favorites such as cherry tomatoes and string beans are providing a touch of love in our Sack Suppers.

The remainder produce was sold to Doorganics and used in our Farm to Table dinner series to help offset our farm costs. This season was unlike any season we have had before, but, overall, the distribution went well!

None of this would have been possible without community support. Every dollar donated goes directly into our programming and provides children and families access to nutrient-dense produce all year long. Hundreds of volunteers donated their time to make this possible. These heroes braved the elements such as: cool mornings, mud, hot sun and relentless weeds! It takes countless hours to create a food oasis on a 10-acre farm in the city – and we did it!

Cooking Demo with Spectrum Health

Kids’ Food Basket and the Spectrum Health’s Culinary Medicine team came together for an interactive night of culinary innovation with a unique virtual cooking class. The community cooked along with chef Elizabeth Suvedi to create their own delicious and nutritious summer dishes using produce from the Kids’ Food Basket Farm. 

The cooking class was the first time event for KFB and a fun night of cooking to share with the CSA members. The produce needed for the recipes came in their CSA share that week. We are very grateful for the great night of collaboration with Spectrum Health and showing more ways on how good food is the foundation of good health and good health is the foundation of a good future.

"It was so fun to cook along with the cooking demo. My family loved everything. It was a much-needed change. And the flavors were so great! It was worth all the food preparation."

Stacy F

CSA Members Spreading the Joy

Walking miles to overall health.

For some members of the KFB CSA, eating fresh vegetables and fruits was just one part of the puzzle for taking care of their overall health. Ellen K, who had heard of the program through the local newspaper, looked to her weekly CSA pickups as a way to get some much-needed exercise. Instead of driving, she would walk four miles round trip to the KFB Grand Rapids building to pick up her share – standing in line amongst all the cars.

have to do something to move. When I was stuck in the house during the pandemic it was really affecting my mental health – so walking really helped.  I don’t know if I would have done it if it weren’t for Kids Food Basket because it was a good way to support a cause that I believe in,” she said. 

“As a member of the community, I have always heard about Kids’ Food Basket and have supported the organization financially. I then actually got to see it come full circle because I work at a school with a family whose two kids get Sack Suppers from KFB, so it was cool to see the other end of it. During quarantine, I started walking – that was my sanity. I couldn’t do really much of anything else so I would try to walk every day.” 

Ellen looked forward to Wednesdays to get some food she had never tried before, such as Kale. Her walk to retrieve her bag of fresh goodies would turn into an experiment of finding new recipes. 

Finding new ways to support KFB.

“Being members of Kids’ Food Basket CSA was such a gift during these trying times. 

We have been volunteering at KFB for years, packing, prepping, driving and delivering. When everything came to a grinding halt on Friday, March 13, we had to find another way to contribute. 

So, we became CSA “active” members! Little did we know that our “contribution” was totally dwarfed by what we received in return! 

Our weekly pickups from Farmer Jason were such a highlight during the pandemic. We were always greeted by KFB energy, smiles, and passion as we grabbed our green bag with super fresh, nutritious veggies that became our weekly CHALLENGE as to what was coming out of our kitchen that week! 

I don’t know what was our favorite! Maybe the fresh sweet corn that made my 94-year-old mom’s day in quarantine. Or maybe it was the Spicy Slaw or a litany of roasted veggies. Or maybe the flow of creative recipes posted by other members. 

We hope to be CSA members again next year as well as to resume our volunteer efforts delivering and on the line. 

Thanks for being such a positive force in feeding and educating our community!” – Rob and Chris Frans 

Sharing the bounty to neighbors.

Elaine Barbee is the lead choir singer at her church and also one of the members of the CSA this season. Every week she makes food using her CSA produce and provides meals to her neighbors who are struggling during this difficult time. We are grateful to have supporters like Elaine. She truly embodies what it means to be part of the KFB family.

“I would come and volunteer with Kids’ Food Basket, but then I started having problems with my knee so I couldn’t stand that long for the shifts. So coming to the CSA was my way of supporting KFB without packing. It’s important that whatever you can do, you do it – that is always my mission. I am always available to help out when I can. So I would take my CSA food to my neighbors who needed some help. If I hear about someone who needs help, I try to be there for them.”

 

Donating to the Community

Over 30,000 servings of food donated! 

We produced excessive amounts of greens and partnered with Community Food Club at 1100 South Division in Grand Rapids to distribute the fresh produce. They were thrilled with the freshness and quality of our donation. Hundreds of families had the pleasure of enjoying our nutritious offerings.

Community Food Club is a nonprofit, member-based grocery store that provides low-income members access to healthy foods. Families are given weekly points they can spend on groceries. Community Food Club encourages families to purchase healthier options by putting them at a lower price point, thus promoting more nutritious food buying.

Healthy food served for Sack Suppers.

All summer long, volunteers helped us harvest thousands of servings of fresh vegetables to be distributed in Sack Suppers. These meals then went to schools or to some of the 70 distribution sites serving our emergency meals throughout the pandemic. 

Families within our community enjoyed beautiful crops that would normally only be seen in a specialty market. Our community’s children were served string beans and cherry tomatoes packed with phytonutrients. These super-fresh foods helped to keep everyone happy and healthy during this unprecedented year.

The Sweetest Part of the CSA

Honey!

Honeybees are an integral part of our Mother Earth, they produce one of the most amazing natural products EVER – raw honey. Raw honey (especially local) is anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and helps mitigate outdoor allergies in humans. Raw honey never goes bad and is incredibly beneficial for hundreds of reasons…and thanks to our honeybees on the KFB Farm, better known as the #KFBees, we’ll now add thousands of honey sticks to healthy meals!

Thank you Honeybees (#KFBees ), for allowing us to host you on the Farm, for making such a beautiful, life-giving product for our community, for being an example of diligent service, and for being so kind and hospitable to me when we hung out on Friday.

We are averaging over 700,000 bees currently on the Farm, and in total we have harvested around 1,209 lbs of honey. We’ll be sending the #KFBees to Florida for the winter. There they will continue to work their hives, stay warm, and avoid the threatening mites, which can severely compromise their livelihood. We’ll welcome them back home to Michigan in the spring.