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Friday, April 12, 2024

UF students, faculty and staff who enjoy fresh produce soon won't have to travel far to get their fix. 

The Gator Community Supported Agriculture program is back for a second year and this semester is opening a second pickup location on campus.

The Gator CSA allows Gainesville community members to pay in advance for shares of produce grown by local farmers.

Each Monday starting in mid-October, farmers will deliver a box of varied produce to one or both of the on-campus locations: the all-decal lot near Bledsoe Drive and the Health Science Center.

"[The Gator CSA] is an opportunity for people to form relationships with farmers," said Stephanie Sims, implementation coordinator with the UF Office of Sustainability.

The program was launched to promote sustainability on campus as well as healthy eating and support for local agriculture, according to the Office of Sustainability website.

The department decided to add the Health Science Center location this year because of an increased interest in the program, Sims said.

Graham Farms, located 10 miles north of Gainesville, is one of the four farms returning to participate.

Kathy Graham, who owns Graham Farms with her husband, Marvin, said the farm's weekly share prices range from $6 to $16. Last year, 60 people collected shares from Graham farms, and this year the farm has 80 signed up so far, Kathy Graham said.

In addition to fresh produce, they sell jams and jellies.

Graham said the Gator CSA program can be a convenient option for people who like local produce but are unable to attend farmers markets.

"It helps us reach a whole different group of people," she said.

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Graham added that the program could be a good opportunity for people to try things they haven't tried before, such as collared greens and Swiss chard.

"This has opened up a lot of people to what is grown locally," she said.

For more information, including a list of the participating farmers and how to become a member of the Gator CSA, visit sustainable.ufl.edu/gatorcsa.

 

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