February 26, 2021

Maressa Valliant, Marketing Coordinator
Sustainable Connections
425.760.6604 mobile

Eat Local First Launches Meet Your Community Supported Agriculture Campaign Connecting You to Farms in Washington

With the 2021 growing season underway the Eat Local First Collaborative announces the launch of its Meet Your CSA Farmer campaign now through March 31, 2021. The campaign features a new CSA Finder tool, integrated with Eat Local First and the Washington Food & Farm Finder to help consumers find CSA near them. The CSA Finder allows consumers to customize their search with multiple filters including availability, content (i.e. vegetables, fruit, flowers, meat, dairy, eggs, etc.), season and distribution options like home delivery, neighborhood pick-up or on farm pick-up.

Csa Header Graphic

Wright Bros Farm

Additionally, the campaign will feature a curated Meet Your CSA Farmer video series featuring local CSA farmers sharing how and why they grow, raise and harvest and how consumers can purchase shares. The 15+ videos will run on the Collaborative’s Facebook and Instagram channels. Additional resources on how to make the most out of CSA shares include tips from local CSA farmers along with an enter-to-win for state residents to win $100 toward their CSA share of choice are found here. Given the impact on local producers in Washington State as a result of COVID-19, consumer demand to purchase CSA shares is expected to remain strong.

“Our CSA expanded from approximately 175 boxes to 395 boxes in 2020,” says Michelle Tonnemaker, who runs the farm’s popular CSA program sourcing from Tonnemaker Hill Farm in Royal City (Grant County) and Tonnemaker Valley Farm in Woodinville (King County). “With social distancing becoming a new norm, more people are looking for ways to have deliveries to their homes and neighborhoods. I’ve already had many inquiries asking when our 2021 registration would start which we opened this past weekend. In just two days, sales have increased 10% compared to the same time last year.”

Also encouraging consumers to start the signup process is Micha Ide, manager of Pierce County Fresh a member of the ELF Collaborative. “I have heard from many local CSA farms that shares are selling out quickly due to exceptional demand,” says Ide who is also co-owner and farmer at Bright Ide Acres in Orting, WA. “I encourage shoppers to use the CSA Finder and act swiftly to find their farm and sign up for a share right away. The good news is many farms are expanding their CSA memberships this season to meet the demand, so if you don't find one right away try expanding your search area a little bit.”

Mariposa Farm Everson, Wa Credit Fotomataio

Ide also says that when using the new CSA Finder tool, consumers can view more results by “just un-checking some of those boxes on the tool, then click submit again or reset to view. Farms are unique and may not fit inside your checkboxes.” Consumers can also view approximately 230 CSA farms on the Washington Food & Farm Finder here.

Consumer interest in local food continues to grow, a recent article in Forbes detailed a number of ways the global crisis has given consumers more reasons to eat local, quoting the World Economic Forum which has advised countries and consumers of the “post-COVID need to support local food systems with shorter, fairer and cleaner supply chains that address local priorities.” However, the growth of CSA as a critical part of the local food infrastructure in Washington state has not been an overnight phenomenon, says Dr. Laura Lewis, Director of the WSU Food Systems Program, another ELF Collaborative member.

“For the past decade, options for CSA have steadily increased across the Pacific Northwest, allowing consumers to purchase directly from a farmer (or fisherperson through CSF). Over the past year, the model became even more important, as direct-to-consumer farmers saw subscriptions increase and retail and wholesale producers pivoted to address local and regional food demand. It is great to see community members invest in farm and fish operations early in the season, providing capital that supports farming and in turns supports our health – both personal and community-wide.”

Re-launched last November, the Eat Local First website hosts the Washington Food & Farm Finder, a comprehensive mobile-friendly searchable database connecting consumers with approximately 1,700 local farms, markets, food businesses and local food resources. Free listings are available through 2021.

The Eat Local First Collaborative is a collective of food system organizations working together to facilitate connections between consumers and farm and food businesses statewide. Members include The Local Food Trust, Pierce County Fresh, Sustainable Connections, Tilth Alliance, Washington State University Food Systems, and Washington State University Regional Small Farms Program with anticipated future participation from additional partners.

        We acknowledge that Whatcom County is located on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples. They cared for the lands that included what we’d call the Puget Sound region, Vancouver Island and British Columbia since time immemorial. This gives us the great obligation and opportunity to learn how to care for our surrounding areas and all the natural and human resources we require to live. We express our deepest respect and gratitude for our indigenous neighbors, the Lummi Nation and Nooksack Tribe, for their enduring care and protection of our shared lands and waterways.
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