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Grow Dat Youth Farm offers weekly ‘vegetable and herb box’ with Farm Share program

Written by  Grow Dat Youth Farm
Editor’s Note: About four years ago, we featured Grow Dat Youth Farm as one of our Causes Spotlights. We’re happy to feature the organization again along with its Grow Dat Farm Share program.
Located on a seven-acre site in City Park, Grow Dat Youth Farm operates a two-acre sustainable farm. Each year, we grow and harvest an average of 12,000 pounds of fresh produce. Seventy percent is sold at our farm stand and at farmers' markets (run by our youth employees). Thirty percent is distributed through our Shared Harvest program, to low-income residents who otherwise have little or no access to fresh food.
At Grow Dat Youth Farm, we use chemical-free farming methods to build a resilient sustainable agricultural system. To us that means producing food by supporting natural ecological systems and stewarding natural and human resources for the future. We do not use chemical-based pesticides or fertilizers. Instead, we utilize techniques such as cover cropping, composting, companion planting, farmscaping and crop rotation to stimulate micro-biological activity and soil health.
What are Grow Dat Farm Shares?
In its third year, the Grow Dat Farm Share program is an opportunity for customers to enjoy chemical-free, fresh produce while investing in our farm and youth leadership program. Farm Shares are a form of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), a way for the community to become “member-investors” who receive a weekly portion of the farm’s harvest during the growing season. For decades, CSAs have supported small-scale farmers and strengthened local food systems. Members experience the seasonal fluctuations of the farm’s produce, a process that teaches consumers more about the natural cycles of food production. Farms benefit by receiving upfront, steady income from members, minimizing some of the risks that come with small-scale farming. At Grow Dat, all Farm Share proceeds support our youth program, which nurtures the leadership skills of teenagers employed in the meaningful work of growing healthy food.

How does it work?
Farm Shares run for 23 weeks, from January 20 - July 2. Members are responsible for picking up their weekly produce box at our farm site in City Park on Wednesday evenings (4-6pm) or Saturday mornings (9am-12pm); members may choose pickup day while availability lasts. (Note: Farm Shares will be suspended during the week leading up to Mardi Gras, Feb 3 + 6 and resume Feb. 11 + 13). If you or a friend can’t pick-up your box for a given week, you have the option of donating that week’s share to Grow Dat youth and their families. 
Your share will consist of a variety of vegetables and herbs sustainably grown on our farm and will change on a weekly basis. One box will generally supply a family of five for a week. Each week share members receive a box of produce that will regularly include what we like to call “the base of the box:” 1) a ¼ lb. bag of our signature salad mix, 2) a ¼ lb. bag of arugula, spinach or head lettuce 3) one bunch of kale, 3) one bunch of chard OR collards (farmer’s choice based on availability) and 4) fresh herbs. In addition to the weekly “base,” you will receive seasonal herbs and vegetables including basil, beets, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, eggplant, beans, leek, mustards, green onions, hot peppers, potatoes, radishes, sugar snap peas, squash, cherry tomatoes, tat soi, turnips and zucchini and more! 
Membership and payment
The cost of a Spring Farm Share is $575 ($25 per box value). A split payment option is available on the sign up form (2nd payment due mid-March). We are also happy to accept SNAP benefits (we offer a 50% discount to individuals who receive SNAP and also allow monthly payments).
For more information about the Grow Dat Farm Share program, please visit the website.
Last modified on Monday, 11 January 2016
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