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Jessica Murphy/MEDILL

Cara Donley sells jars of tomato products from Tomato Mountain Farm at the Evanston indoor farmers' market.

Jessica Murphy/MEDILL

Hear about community supported agriculture in Illinois

Chicagoans embrace farm to table movement

by Jessica Murphy
Feb 26, 2013


Jessica Murphy/MEDILL

Not many people can tell you where the food they buy at the grocery store comes from. The growing number of community supported agriculture systems reflect consumers' desire to change this.


Jessica Murphy/MEDILL

Some shoppers still prefer to pick out their own vegetables at grocery stores like Jewel-Osco.

Not a lot of people know where the food on their plate comes from. But thanks to a system called community supported agriculture, or CSA, this is beginning to change.

“Every week you get a box of fresh produce, whatever is seasonal," said Cara Donley of Tomato Mountain Farm in Brooklyn, Wis. "So whatever we pick that week basically, that’s what you’re getting in your box.”

There are more than 150 CSAs in Illinois and that number is going up. Joining one costs $20-$40 per week depending on the size of the share purchased. Some CSAs require people to pick up their food at the farm, others offer home delivery. Farms that offer CSAs are usually small, independent and family-run. More often than not they’re also organic.

Moms like Trina Muich have embraced CSAs as a way to support local farmers while teaching her kids about healthy food. Muich picks up her family’s food every week at their CSA farm, which has been a great experience for her two sons, she said.

“Owen and Jones actually pick the food themselves or at least see where these things are planted.”