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Green Earth Institute CSA growing and selling local organic produce

CSA subscribers pickup their vegetables either at the Naperville farm or at one of four off-site locations, in Batavia, Lombard, Western Springs, or Winfield

CSA subscribers pickup their vegetables either at the Naperville farm or at one of four off-site locations, in Batavia, Lombard, Western Springs, or Winfield

More and more, people are looking for fresh, local, and organic produce. Farmers markets and CSAs (community supported agriculture programs) become more popular every year, here in the Chicago area, as well as around the country. Right here in Naperville, the Green Earth Institute is celebrating its 10th year offering its popular CSA program, providing residents with the freshest possible local organic produce.

The Green Earth Institute’s organic vegetable farming operation takes place in south Naperville on the McDonald Farm (which is owned by the non-profit organization The Conservation Foundation). The farm provides nutritious, certified organic, locally-grown food and at the same time serves as a model for “green” growing practices and as an educational venue for children and adults. Green Earth Institute operates as a non-profit organization with a mission to promote nutritional health and environmental sustainability.

Green Earth Institute grows over 40 vegetable and herb crops at the farm: lettuces, cooking greens, kohlrabi, broccoli, carrots, beets, cabbage, basil, thyme, summer squash, and winter squash, just to name a few. The CSA concept allows consumers to buy directly from the farmers, enabling the consumers to know the people who grow their food and what methods are used. To provide financial stability for the farm, the consumers purchase a share of the harvest in advance and then receive vegetables throughout the season.

In Green Earth Institute’s CSA, the main harvest season runs from mid-June to the end of October, a total of 20 weeks. The weekly share is a ¾ bushel box of freshly harvested vegetables each of the 20 weeks, at a cost of $670 ($690 for remote pickup locations). The biweekly share amounts to 10 boxes over the same time period, costing $360 ($370 for remote pickup locations). (The additional options for Spring and Late Fall shares are sold out for this year.) Sales tax is additional. Sign-up is at greenearthinstitute.org.

Pickup locations are in the barn at the farm in Naperville on Tuesdays and Fridays, and in Batavia, Lombard, Western Springs, and Winfield on Wednesdays.

Green Earth CSA members are not required to work on the farm, but many shareholders volunteer and enjoy planting, cultivating, harvesting, and other tasks involved in growing their food or supporting the organization. Volunteering is a great way to foster a sense of community and a greater connection to the source of our food. Interested people can sign up on greenearthinstitute.org.

A detailed description of the CSA and an online order form are available at greenearthinstitute.org. Information about other Green Earth initiatives, such as summer programs for pre-schoolers and elementary school age children, and adult education programs is also available on the website.

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