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Campus Community Can Purchase Subscriptions for Fresh, Locally Grown Produce, Thanks to New Partnership

Old Dominion University's Center for Service and Civic Engagement has launched a partnership with the Five Points Community Farm Market in Norfolk and Aramark's Monarch Dining to offer fresh, locally grown produce to the campus community.

It's known as a community-supported agriculture program, or CSA. Subscriptions are being offered through the ODU center to students, staff, faculty, alumni and others in the ODU community, which will pay local farmers in advance so they can concentrate on growing produce while putting less emphasis on marketing.

Every Friday during 12-week periods in the winter, spring, summer and fall, Five Points will deliver a package of vegetables to Webb Center between 4-6 p.m. Aramark will host a social in the Norfolk Room where subscribers can pick up their produce, enjoy appetizers and beverages, get recipe suggestions and mingle with Aramark and local chefs, as well as others who are interested in sustainable food.

A CSA program consists of a group of individuals who pledge their support to local farmers and the farm market through a subscription to purchase seasonal local produce. Subscribers pay for the produce in advance, which offers farmers the ability to market their crops during the off-season and focus on farming during the growing season. Through this arrangement, the farmers are also better able to plan their plantings with the knowledge that a portion of what they grow is already sold.

The CSA @ ODU program will offer a variety of fresh, local produce. The produce is sourced from multiple farmers across the region and state, which cushions subscribers against the effects of drought conditions, plant disease and pests that might otherwise affect local produce supplies.

Participants fill out a subscription form to participate in the program. Each week they receive an allotted amount of seasonal fresh produce ($20 worth in the summer and fall and $15 worth in the winter and spring). The produce selection is preset each week. This is done to ensure that participants learn to eat locally and what is in season - there will be no picking, choosing or trading of weekly produce.

CSA @ ODU is open to students, faculty, staff, alumni and area residents. Early-bird rates for a CSA winter-season subscription are $180, and are available until Wednesday, Dec. 22. Subscriptions for the winter season are available until Friday, Jan. 7. The first delivery will be later that month.

For more information contact volunteer@odu.edu or 683-6948.

This article was posted on: December 15, 2010

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