The Appalachian Resource Conservation and Development Council (ARCD) will hold its annual CSA Fair virtually this year in the interest of public safety. In years past, these CSA Fairs have featured farmers from across the region who sell Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares of their harvest, and have drawn the public to meet their local farmers, learn about production methods, and become more engaged in the local food system.
This year, due to COVID-19’s continuing impact on public safety, the fairs will be held online, but will still connect folks with local farmers. The ARCD will feature all farms who wish to participate on their website and will promote them via video and photo content through their social media channels. The virtual fair is free for farmers to participate in, and free to the public as well. The ARCD hopes that by offering the fair online and with no charge to either parties, it will reach a broader audience and allow our region to become even more engaged with the food we eat and the farmers who produce it.
Community supported agriculture is an invaluable sector of agriculture, especially for small family farms. Selling subscriptions in this way allows a farm to get much-needed cash flow at the beginning of their season when cash is usually very tight. This allows them to fund the purchase of more seeds, plants, feed, repairs for equipment, etc., so they can focus on growing nutritious food rather than penny pinching. CSA is also beneficial for consumers because they secure access to a farm’s harvest upfront, which makes them more likely to eat healthy produce, cook more meals at home, and live a healthier lifestyle.
The virtual CSA Fair will be live during the last week of February, National CSA Week. During that week and the days leading up to it, ARCD will feature interviews and filmed farm-tours on Facebook and Instagram. All the details can be found at arcd.org/csa.
CSA Producers are encouraged to connect with the ARCD — they would like to feature as many farms as possible! Farmers may email Kayla Nichols at email@example.com to express interest in participating.
The Appalachian RC&D Council is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization serving Northeast Tennessee and beyond. The mission of ARCD is to conserve natural resources and improve rural economies through community leadership and enhanced educational opportunities. For more information on ARCD and its programming, please visit arcd.org. The CSA Fair is part of the Farmers Market Promotion Program, made possible through grant funding from the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service. More information on USDA AMS can be found here: https://www.ams.usda.gov/.