BACK OF THE YARDS — Farm-fresh, local produce will be available to South Side residents in a new Community Supported Agriculture program launching at The Plant.
CSAs are subscription-based programs in which consumers buy seasonal produce directly from a farmer. Shares of the harvest are then divvied amongst a set number of subscribers.
That's the case at The Plant’s CSA, but there's also a twist — the shares will include produce grown outside of The Plant, but they'll also include aquaponically-grown salad greens, kale, chard, arugula and sorrel and indoor-grown gourmet mushrooms.
All of those items will be available regularly, but they'll be bundled on a rotating basis.
The facility's outdoor farm, meanwhile, is expected to yield seasonal produce like strawberries, peas, tomatoes, squash and peppers.
“And that’s a very short list of what they’re growing,” said Kate Purvis, a staffer at Plant Chicago, the nonprofit arm of the sustainable food production facility at 1400 W. 46th St.
Eventually, organizers are hoping to bundle into the shares some items produced by The Plant's tenant, like fresh-baked breads from the Peerless Bread and Jam.
The outdoor farm has been taken over by Patchwork Farms, an urban farm in Humboldt Park run by Katie Williams and Molly Medhurst.
“We knew Patchwork was trying to expand and become full-time farmers … This was kind of a mutually beneficial things. We could give them more space while they expand their outdoor farming,” Purvis said.
Only about 20 subscriptions will be available the first-time around and those spots are expected to fill up quickly. It's first come, first served. Summer and fall subscriptions are also in the works.
Those who snag a subscription will pay $140 upfront for a 7-week subscription available for weekly pickup at the Plant. The shares are adequate for households with two people.
Those shut out from the CSA still have options: The Plant's produce will be available at a "farm stand" that's in the works and at the seasonal Back of the Yards Farmers' Market. And organizers say those who are interested can be put on a wait list for the CSA.
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