Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Grows in the Boston Area
A Post from BRA’s Greentech Blog
The proliferation of Boston area farmer’s markets has seen extremely positive growth over the last few years. The mass.gov agriculture site offers the complete list of farmer’s markets in the state.
While there has been steady growth of traditional farmer’s markets throughout the growing season, the business model has expanded to include meat and seafood shares. The community supported fishery of Cape Ann Fresh Catch (CAFC) provides sustainably caught, dayboat fish with a direct to customer approach throughout the region to sixteen communities including Cambridge, Marblehead, Ipswich and the Fenway and Jamaica Plain neighborhoods of Boston. Now in its third season the program offers weekly and bi-weekly shares of whole and filetted options for folks. John Crow Farm in Groton, MA offers all natural, grass-fed and pasture raised beef, lamb, pork and poultry at the following locations- Cambridge, Jamaica Plain, Groton and Somerville, MA.
Winter markets have been sprouting up throughout the region and now provide a variety of cold-stored produce, meat, breads and locally produced products like honey and preserved items from November to April.
Boston includes a number of food purveyors that sell locally sourced produce and ingredients. Foodies Urban market, City Feed and Supply, The Harvest Coop, Formaggio’s, Savenor’s Market , and new Southie venture American Provisions stock locally and regionally sourced meats, produce, cheeses, and baked goods for area customers satisfying increased demand.
Boston’s urban agriculture horizon has seen a number of start-ups that are based on a variety of business models-
City Fresh Foods in Dorchester provides food services and locally sourced and healthy foods for area schools, hospitals, child care facilities throughout metro Boston with a mission that is committed to provide healthy and ecologically friendly meals using fresh local ingredients from a community owned operation. City Fresh Foods has been an economic success story as highlighted in the Boston Herald.
Top Sprouts is exploring development of an innovative roof top agriculture business model, that highlights high performance, year round growing techniques and thoughtfully intregrates building science and water management. Top Sprouts CEO Alice Leung participated in a series of BRA sponsored discussions to explore the human health, regulatory, green building, and economic impacts of roof top agriculture in Boston.
Restaurants can get into the game too with help from the (Boston based!) Chef’s Collaborative, an organization that helps restaurant owners link with sustainable, local farms.
Here’s an interesting article measuring the impact of farmers markets on local economies through the Project for Public Places. Strengthening our local food web is crucial to boosting our economy and will help ensure that more Boston residents have access to healthy and locally produced food. Local food guide to metro Boston -Farm Fresh.org