Ignatius Farm’s CSA Project: bringing community and fresh food together

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

  • Photo by Mike Smith. CSA Farmer: Field & Education Coordinator

    Photo by Mike Smith. CSA Farmer: Field & Education Coordinator

Written by Abigel Lemak

“Community-supported agriculture or CSAs and other local food initiatives serve to reconnect communities with food and also to rebuild community around food.” says Nicola Inglefield

For the last 11 years, Ignatius Farm has been working hard on providing their community with fresh and locally grown foods year round. Projects like these allow members of the Guelph community to not only enjoy fresh foods, but to gain experience and respect of the work and passion required of local farmers. Nicola Inglefield, Volunteer Coordinator and Senior Intern at Ignatius Farm, to talk about the inspiration behind the project and how students can get involved.

“Ignatius Farm CSA was established in 2001 after a number of years of community members gathering to discuss rural and farm issues as an expression of social justice in the form of the Jesuit Farm Project,” said Inglefield. “The ethic of the farm community, and the desire to have the farmland at Ignatius thrive with community input and connections was the inspiration of the Jesuits and community members who initiated the program.”

Among the many collaborations of Ignatius Farm, their best known is with the CRAFT (Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training) Ontario network of farm internships.  “We founded this program in 2002 with six other farms in South Western Ontario. It now includes four nodes across the province and a total of 63 farms. One of our CSA farmers has been the coordinator of CRAFT Ontario South West region for 10 of its 11 years.” says Inglefield.

Programs such as these demonstrate the success of community collaboration projects, where members join together and work to elevate the quality of living of the local community. Anyone is welcome to volunteer at the Ignatius Farm CSA, where they can help with the planting, weeding, harvest and the marketing required to keep the program running.

“We love having volunteers!” exclaims Inglefield. “Field volunteers are welcome to join us in our seven acre certified organic vegetable garden, [peek times include] the garlic harvest, the onion harvest and the Frost Watch Team (this team harvests all the winter squash and pumpkins.)”

A unique volunteer opportunity, Ignatius Farm’s CSA offers, is for members to sign up for a working share. This allows you to work on the farm as a CSA member in exchange for a share of the harvest.

“This is a great way to learn about growing food, get more connected with your food and where it comes from, and meet some awesome people.” says Inglefield.

More than 100 people volunteer at the Ignatius Farm CSA, some who help at certain peek times of the harvesting season and others who lend a hand year round. Projects like this one seem crucial to the local and organic food scene so prided in Guelph.

“As one of the first CSAs to service Guelph—one of the longest lasting—has helped us gain a reputation of growing high quality organic vegetables,” says Inglefield. “CSAs and other local food initiatives serve to reconnect communities with food and also to rebuild community around food.”

The production, preparation and healthy consumption of good food may be becoming something of on archaic notion as food becomes less localized. Most of the food we buy and consume from the supermarkets are imported and produced out of the reach of ethical laws and practices. CSA projects allow people to reconnect with food and their community, working together to ensure that fresh foods are no only readily available, but well worth the extra effort. 

“[W]hen you consider all the food crises occurring around the world, it is of great importance for communities to produce their own food,” says Inglefield. “Producing fresh, local, ecologically farmed food and encouraging members of the community to join us in this venture is a step towards food sovereignty for the whole community.”

For more information on how to volunteer visit www.ignatiusguelph.ca/csa


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