Emily Sims ~ Guest Writer
Lynchburg Grows, a nonprofit urban farm in Lynchburg, VA, is preparing for their approaching veggie box season, which runs from April 3 to Dec. 18, 2019.
The veggie boxes include a weekly selection of seasonal fruits and vegetables that are grown at their farm, as well as products from local restaurants.
Veggie boxes are a part of Lynchburg Grows’ Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, which allows consumers to purchase fresh food directly from local farmers.
The Lynchburg Grows’ CSA Manager and Assistant Farm Manager, Jennifer Porter, said that, compared to other CSAs, Lynchburg Grows’ CSA is different because they allow customers to shop from a list of 16 to 18 items and customers get to choose six, which helps to ensure variety. Porter also said their veggie box customers are often surprised at how much longer vegetables from Lynchburg Grows last in the refrigerator when compared to store bought produce.
The CSA member and former Lynchburg Grows intern, Lily Smith, said, “You could see a significant difference in the freshness compared to say, like, Kroger. It is definitely cheaper…because of the freshness, than it would have been to go to the grocery store.” According to the Lynchburg Grows’ website, the veggie box membership costs $855 for the 38 week season.
As a nonprofit organization, proceeds from the CSA help with daily expenses and supporting their other programs, such as vocational training, FreshRx, and community engagement.
Lynchburg Grows provides vocational training by offering a place for individuals with disabilities to have meaningful work and for people to perform community service.
FreshRx is a prescription service that enables those in need to receive free vegetables while taking a class that educates them on how to make their lifestyle healthier.
In addition to selling their vegetables, Lynchburg Grows often donates to Community Access Network and other organizations to help serve the community.