Want to meet your local farmers? You can this weekend. On March 20, from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m., the Bangor CSA Fair at Sea Dog Brewing Company in Bangor will bring together farmers and potential CSA members.
Community supported agriculture, or CSA, promotes eating food grown by local farmers and encourages consumers to pre-purchase a season’s worth of fresh farm product, from fruits, vegetables, flowers and herbs to eggs, meat, dairy and baked goods.
“It’s a great opportunity for local people in the community to meet the farmers who are producing the food that they eat,” Alie Courtney of the Bangor Area Food Council said.
“We grow certified organic produce that includes lots of different vegetables and also strawberries, raspberries and melons. We have been doing farmers markets for four years, and this will be our first year offering CSA shares,” Hopkins said. “The farm is growing, and we want to continue growing it, so we wanted to give customers another options to buy our produce.”
CSA shares create a relationship between farmer and consumer, one of the most important aspects of a CSA. It also allows farmers to get off on the right foot with their growing season.
“We start paying labor and we start paying all our seed expenses … up front at the beginning of the season,” Tierney, whose farm offers certified organic vegetables, pastured pork, eggs and flowers, said. “Particularly, if it’s a growth year for you and you’re producing more this year than you have previously, it provides a little bit of, literally, seed money to get going.”
For many people, the idea of a CSA is foreign. The fair is a way for consumers to interact with farmers and ask questions about the process to come to a better understanding of what they’re looking for and how to get it.
“We’re happy to answer any questions about how we grow, what we grow, the selection of vegetables we’ll be offering at the CSA, the logistics of picking it up,” Hopkins said. “It’s a different way of purchasing food for a lot of people.”
The event is organized by Food AND Medicine, a nonprofit organization in Brewer that addresses worker rights, access to local food and laid-off worker issues. The event also is sponsored by the Bangor Area Food Council and Bangor Greendrinks.
“As consumers, I think it’s good to know what’s in your food, where it’s coming from and how it’s produced,” Ethan Tremblay of Bangor Greendrinks said. As an organization dedicated sustainability-focused networking in Bangor, the fair aligned with their goals. That also was true for the Bangor Area Food Council.
“At the Bangor Food Council, one of the things that we work to do is increase the available channels between producers and consumers, so the fact that they get to meet each other is one of the things we love to work on,” Courtney said.
“I think that when consumers meet the people that are actually producing the food that they eat, it increases the awareness about where food is coming from and it makes people more knowledgeable about the what they’re really eating,” she added.