It might be surprising to hear, but finding the perfect CSA Farm is a lot like choosing a love match.
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs exist all over the world, and just like the farmers that orchestrate them, each and every one is different.
Often these CSA programs are marketed directly to consumers, and the “shares” of local produce are picked up at the farm or a nearby farmers market. While these CSA concepts are nothing new, a growing national trend, and local market opportunity, has arrived in the form of CSA Workplace Wellness programs.
Employers are becoming increasingly aware of the role that employee health & happiness plays in business success. CSA Workplace Wellness programs combine increased fruit & vegetable consumption for participating employees with the social, economic and environmental benefits of purchasing locally. Beyond the obvious benefits of healthier employees, investment in nutrition and diet related worksite wellness programming has been linked to improved work performance, decreased absenteeism, lower healthcare costs, and higher employee retention rates.
A grant submitted by Munson Healthcare’s Shape Up North in collaboration with several community partners was recently awarded by the Michigan Health Endowment Fund in April. A portion of these funds have been allocated to Taste the Local Difference (TLD), specifically to develop CSA Workplace Wellness programs in a five-county region.
TLD will play matchmaker and incorporate years of strong relationships with local farmers to pair interested businesses with a carefully selected CSA. The perfect farm match includes several factors; company size, employee interest, proximity, and CSA composition or design.
CSA Worksite Wellness Programs offer weekly shares of locally grown produce to participating employees. These shares are purchased by the employee but are often incentivized through payroll deduction systems or employee health stipends. The shares also offer an additional element of convenience because they are dropped off at the worksite directly.
Several regional employers have found their match and are already offering CSA Worksite Wellness Programs, including Munson Healthcare, Hagerty Insurance, Bay Motor Products & TentCraft.
Find out more at www.localdifference.org/workplaceCSA
Tricia Phelps is the operations director for Taste the Local Difference. Contact her at [email protected]