Sustainabilty for all–EBT and CSA

“We all do better when we all do better.” ~Senator Paul Wellstone

I am blessed that I never went to school hungry. In fact all my growing up life I never went hungry. I would get hungry sometimes in between meals but I never missed one.

This was not the case for Proeun. As a child growing up in America he was hungry alot. At 4 he moved from a refugee camp in Thailand to Alabama. A local baptist church sponsored them. They helped them fill out forms, find a place to live and apply for foodstamps. And the family grew. Eventually there would be 6 children in the family and they would share 2-3 eggs among them. My in-laws were masters at stretching food but still sometimes they went out so the children could eat. Proeun told me he loved school–because he got to eat. He even loved it in the summer. He once told me, “Imagine not eating in a couple days then trying to take a Math test, see how good you do.”

There is much talk about sustainable agriculture and how it is good for local communities. But we realize that sustainable is only sustainable if it is accessible to everyone.

This weekend we will be at the Mother Earth Festival on St. Paul’s westside. I am going to be speaking about CSAs and the future of sustainablity. The coordinator pointed out to me that 50-75% of children of color are living below the poverty line and that for many families CSAs seem an unreachable goal financially much like a new car.

This of course is a concern. In order to be sustainable we also have to have to make money in order to keep doing this work. But with Proeun’s background we really wanted to find a way to make it affordable. We were blessed a few years ago to meet a fellow farmer who offered EBT to his customers. We learned how and applied. Last year was our first year accepting EBT. This year we were hoping to expand and reach 25 families but so far only 2 are taking advantage of the opportunity.

We continue to look for ways to make CSA more affordable and strive to keep our quality high and our prices low. If you know anyone who would like to know more about EBT and CSA please pass on our information to them. And stop by this weekend if you have an opportunity.