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Natural Awakenings Boston

Online Community Supported Agriculture

Apr 30, 2020 01:49PM ● By Wendy Fachon

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs empower consumers to buy freshly harvested produce directly from local farmers, and several programs in the Boston area offer online ordering and home delivery. As these programs grow, consumers will have more opportunities than ever to support a local system, access better quality food, improve environmental sustainability and keep farmland in production.

Long-distance trucking compromises freshness, nutrition and flavor, adds cost and is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. CSA programs eliminate these transportation costs and middlemen, and fewer people are handling the products. The current pandemic is spurring the growth of programs that offer the added conveniences of online ordering, doorstep delivery and more consumer choice than a traditional CSA.

FreshConnFreshConn is a food accelerator social enterprise currently serving Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut, and is distinguished in personality, values and safety. While describing itself as “the instacart of farm fresh food,” FreshConn adheres to the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) standards, along with COVID-19 sanitation. The company’s app solves a national last-mile logistics issue for farmers and artisans, contracting its drivers like an Uber for local food. The drivers, trained in FSMA standards, deliver food straight from the farm to the consumer.

FreshConn is also passionate about providing food where access to affordable and nutritious food is limited, delivering COVID-19 relief to residents of inner-city food deserts and those lacking transportation to purchase local food. From its online children’s book and its family meal show to job creation and community giving, FreshConn supports people everywhere. Learn more at FreshConn.com.

WhatsGoodWhatsGood’s technology brings communities together to enable an efficient, convenient and waste-free system for access to the freshest local fruits and vegetables, meats, seafood and artisanal products. Customers can place an order any day of the week from as many vendors as they like. WhatsGood then aggregates the order at its Fenway hub and provides home delivery to zip codes in the Boston area and south of the city.

The company also offers the option to purchase CSA Farm Shares. For produce, it works the same way as a typical full-seasonal farm share, except it is billed weekly. Farm shares for meat and seafood are highly customizable, as customers can order a chicken farm share, pork farm share, etc. These run for 12 weeks at a time.

WhatsGood is rapidly hiring, expanding operations and updating safety and sanitation procedures to serve as many folks as possible. Customers can shop with no minimums, commitments or membership necessary. It purchases directly from local farms, up until 1 p.m. the day before delivery, and then the farms deliver orders to WhatsGood every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The shoppers’ orders are packed and delivered the same day. People can sign up for a free account by visiting SourceWhatsGood.com.

Farmers to YouFarmers to You is an online market that makes it easy to shop from more than 90 farms and food producers all located in New England. Most of the partnering farms are located in Vermont. Customers place their orders each week by Sunday night, and they can pick up their order at one of the 25 local Boston area pickup sites or enjoy home delivery. Selection changes constantly for seasonal items like fruits and vegetables, but there is also milk, cheese, pasture-raised meats, fresh fish, bakery fresh breads, eggs, fresh pastas, and loads of pantry items.

This marketplace is truly committed to rebuilding a trustworthy and sustainable regional food system. Affiliated farmers and producers are some of the best in the region. Most are organically certified, and those that are not use sustainable farming practices. If asked about any of their crops or animals, their soil practices, or their land, these are farmers that will deliver a lengthy and passionate discourse. Farmers To You believes its customers deserve to know the people that produce their food and how the food is produced and are fully committed to the well-being and health of its consumers.

Operating 12 months of the year, this marketplace offers the abundant selection of a great farmers’ market, the direct relationship of a CSA and the flexibility and convenience of online shopping and even delivery. By eliminating all the middle people, the food arrives fresher, it is handled by fewer people and the farmers and producers receive up to three times more of every dollar spent, helping them maintain their land and continue their sustainable practices. Learn more at FarmersToYou.com.

Wendy Fachon is a regular contributor to Sustainable Living News and host of the Story Walking Radio Hour on the Dream Visions 7 Radio Network. Visit DreamVisions7radio.com and search out her podcasts on sustainable living.