January 17, 2020 | By: Carol Lea Spence

LEXINGTON, Ky., – Registration for the 2020 season of the University of Kentucky’s Community Supported Agriculture Project opens Jan. 24. All UK faculty, staff and students are eligible to enroll in the program, which provides members with fresh produce from May 21 through Oct. 15 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture-certified organic farming unit of the UK Horticulture Research Farm in Lexington.

This year, UK is offering CSA vouchers as an open benefit to its employees who are on a UK health plan. Eligible employees will be able to claim a $200 voucher toward a UK CSA share. Voucher codes are available via the UK Health and Wellness Dashboard between Jan. 24 and April 20. Codes should be acquired before registering for a UK CSA share. Vouchers must be applied at the time of purchase. They will not be accepted retroactively.

Community Supported Agriculture, abbreviated as CSA, is a subscription-based program where consumers buy “shares” in a farm’s output. Members benefit from receiving a weekly supply of affordable, farm-fresh produce from growers they know and trust. The UK Department of Horticulture in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment operates the UK CSA as an education and outreach project that forms an integral part of the sustainable agriculture undergraduate degree program. Financial proceeds from the sale of shares cover production costs, as well as student educational activities.

A CSA model brings consumers and farmers closer together. Shareholders not only share in the bounty of the farm, but also the potential risks, such as drought or insect infestations. CSA membership benefits include food abundance, access, diversity, freshness and nutrition. In addition, members in the UK CSA have access to you-pick, farm events and educational resources.

For less than $30 per week, members will receive a weekly bounty of freshly harvested produce. Share costs are $650 for faculty and staff prior to March 1, $660 throughout March, and $670 from April 1 on. The student cost is $584, $594 and $604, respectively.

The produce in the shares will vary according to the time of year, but based on a typical growing season, shareholders can expect to find such items as spring salad mix, radishes, spinach, kohlrabi, turnips, broccoli, beets, cucumbers, herbs, corn, green beans, melons, garlic, onions, kale, squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes, cabbage, peppers, cauliflower and tomatoes.

The number of shares is limited and offered on a first-come, first-served basis. When registering, participants can choose to pick up their weekly shares on Thursdays either from 4 to 6 p.m. EDT in the orange parking lot of the E.S. Good Barn on campus or from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the UK Horticulture Research Farm, 4321 Emmert Farm Lane.

UK EatWell will kick off sign-ups at a CSA Fair for UK employees from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 24 in the Food Connection Kitchen on the second floor of The 90. Attendees will have a chance to win a CSA share, sign up for a voucher, take part in giveaways and food tastings and meet the CSA farmers. To RSVP for the event, go to https://ukhr.uky.edu/livewell/eatwell/presentations and log in with your linkblue ID.

To learn more about taking advantage of the voucher benefit for UK employees, visit the UK Health and Wellness page, https://www.uky.edu/hr/benefits/csa-voucher.

For more information on the UK CSA program email uk.csa@uky.edu. To register starting Jan. 24, go online to https://sustainableag.ca.uky.edu/csa. Registrants will be able to pay with credit card or check. Make check payable to UK CSA and mail to CSA Manager, N318 Ag Sciences Bldg., Lexington, KY 40546.


Kristi Durbin, uk.csa@uky.edu