Linn County has partnered with Morning Glory Farm of Mount Vernon, IA to provide a community-sourced agriculture (CSA) opportunity to its employees, while also supporting HACAP, a local non-profit. The opportunity was put together by the Linn County Food Systems Council and presented to the Board of Supervisors for approval.
Each Thursday through the spring and summer months, Linn County employees pick up a bag of locally-grown produce from the Morning Glory Farm delivery van. The produce received each week varies by what is in season. Items include: lettuce, radishes, green garlic, strawberries, peppers, and much more.
“At the beginning of each week, we send a newsletter to CSA participants to inform them of what they will be receiving that week, as well as a couple recipes for the lesser known items, such as bok choy,” said Farmer Donna. “Morning Glory is a farm for the shareholders. We want participants to experience a connection to their food that the typical grocery store experience doesn’t allow, to feel what eating seasonally is all about, and to appreciate what fresh harvested produce tastes like.”
Currently, 23 Linn County employees participate in the CSA program. This participation, in turn, provides $5,000 via an agreement for services contract to HACAP, a local food pantry, to provide fresh produce items to those in need in the community.
“This partnership with HACAP, and the pilot employee CSA program, fulfills the mission of Linn County and supports the core values of the Food Systems Council. Linn County and the Food Systems Council believe in helping people, solving problems, and leading change. This small project encapsulates that mission,” said Senior Planner Mike Tertinger. “Employees get to purchase healthy produce from a local Linn County farmer, and in agreeing to participate, they helped send additional funds to HACAP which is on the front lines in the fight against hunger and food insecurity. The project is a win on several fronts as it helps our county friends and neighbors that need our help the most while also supporting local farmers and providing employees another avenue for convenient, healthy food choices.”
Linn County looks forward to expanding this program in the years to come to increase access to healthy options to employees, as well as those in the community.