The Kentucky Department of Agriculture is hosting a virtual “CSA week” to highlight community supported agriculture farms across the state, starting today. The event is designed as a way for consumers to connect with farmers to receive CSA shares.
According to Sean Southard, Director of Public Affairs and Communications at the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, “A CSA [share] is a way for consumers to sign up or subscribe to local farms and farmers on a weekly, biweekly, or monthly basis.”
He said these subscriptions provide a “box of Kentucky proud farm goods that can range from produce to protein and honey and flowers.”
Subscriptions may be delivered to homes or local farmer’s markets for pick-up depending on customer and farmer preferences. Additionally, he reported these services are very important during the ongoing health pandemic when safety recommendations such as “social distancing” are still in play. He said many farmers lost important markets such as schools and restaurants last year due to the virus and local support is one of the major ways consumers can help mitigate the impact of last year's loss.
This is the second year the Kentucky Department of Agriculture will host a virtual CSA fair. Southard reports the fair originated by necessity last year following cancellation of in-person sign ups for CSAs, due to COVID-19 restrictions at the time. The first virtual fair was reportedly a success, reaching more than 123,000 people, 4,000 event responses, and highlighted 60 farms. This year the Kentucky Proud virtual CSA Fair hopes to continue last year’s success and will highlight 80 farms located across the state.
“Just because there’s a pandemic going on, doesn’t mean that you can’t support local and the Kentucky Proud Virtual CSA fair is one way that you can do that,” Southard explained. “We at the Kentucky Dept. of Agriculture hope that the Kentucky Proud virtual CSA fair accomplishes one thing; maintaining consumer/farmer relationships. We want to make sure that during a time of pandemic, that customers and consumers have an easy way of connecting with their local farmer and there’s no better way to do that this time of the year than through a CSA.”
This week’s virtual fair will take place starting today and will continue through this Saturday. The fair will include hourly posts highlighting different farms all over the state, as well as Farmer Live Sessions today through Friday and a prerecorded demonstration from Bethany Prekopa with the Kentucky Horticulture Council on Saturday.
Those interested may also explore the website for more information, as well as a map of all CSA farms throughout Kentucky’s counties.