A program called “Get Yourself a Farmer” has nothing to do with dating and everything to do with connecting consumers with local farmers, farmers’ markets, food outlets, orchards and meat markets. Robert Karp, executive director of Practical Farmers of Iowa helped design the Get Yourself a Farmer directory. It includes operations in the C-S-A program, or Community Supported Agriculture. A farmer basically sells shares in a harvest for the coming year, and Karp says the shares may sell for between 100 and 300-dollars, then the consumer gets a bag of fresh produce every week during the growing season from that farm. Laurie DeGroote and her husband grow organic vegetables in Butler County. DeGroote says this is the first time they’ve operated as a C-S-A and sold shares in their various crops. DeGroote says one advantage is having the crop sold up-front and not having to sit and bake in the sun for hours at the farmer’s market, watching the lettuce wilt. Harriet Goodman, of Cedar Falls, is a C-S-A shareholder and says the program works well for her from the consumer’s standpoint.Six years ago, only one or two farming operations used the C-S-A format. Now, there are more than 50 statewide. For more information on the program or to download a directory, surf to the website “www.practicalfarmers.org”.
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