The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Local farm provides fresh produce for students and staff on campus

Theresa Quary and her daughters Simone and Gabrielle sort through the contents of their CSA delivery on Aug. 31. They have received CSA boxes since the begining of August. Ken scarboro/ Online editor

In an effort to provide CSUN students and staff with healthier and more sustainably grown produce, the Marilyn Magaram Center for Food Science, Nutrition and Dietetics has partnered with Underwood Family Farms in Moorpark for the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program.

“It saves students money, supports local farmers, and is convenient and economical,” said Jenna Jackson, project manager at the Marilyn Magaram Center.

The CSA program came about after plans for a farmers market fell through, said Sarah Erickson, administrative analyst for the Institute for Sustainability.

“We had plans for a farmers market on campus, but it was put on hold due to lack of funding,” Erickson said. “[CSA] is aligned with the goals of sustainability.”

The Institute for Sustainability helps market the CSA program, Erickson said.

Lee Chacon, administrator for Underwood Family Farms said although their produce is not certified organic, they attempt to utilize sustainable farming methods wherever possible.

“We practice organic planting,” Chacon said. “When we do spray, we use organic sprays. Once in a while, we use something that is not organic.”

The University Corporation, a non-profit organization that handles commercial services at CSUN, provides refrigerated storage space for the produce behind the Matador Bookstore Complex, where participants can pick up their box of produce.

Mike Lennon, associate director of retail and operations for The University Corporation, said storage space is initially limited to about 50 members to work out kinks.

The produce, which is delivered on Tuesdays, is whatever is seasonally available from Underwood Family Farms and the produce changes every week, Chacon said.

Members have the option of two different sized boxes of produce to suit the size of their household and eating habits.

A small box costs $15 and is suitable for a two-person household for about one week and a large box costs $20 and is sufficient for a family of four for one week, Jackson said.

“We have seen an increased number of members each week, and this is still summer,” Erickson said.  “We are expecting a higher number of people in the fall.”

Lennon said he has received only positive feedback thus far.

Jackson said she would like to see the program grow beyond CSUN.

“Right now, only CSUN can participate, but we want to open it to the community,” she said.

Jackson added the number of participants in the CSA program has grown since its launch during the past summer.

“We had 20 members the first week, and we have 60 members so far,” Jackson said.

Participants can sign up for monthly, quarterly or annual memberships.

“Because the farmers market still is not a reality for CSUN, the CSA program is the next best thing,” Jackson said.  It is growing every week.”

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