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Making the Most of Wisconsin's CSA Programs

Lindsay Eyink

Recently, the Urban Ecology Center held its annual meet your farmer event here in Milwaukee. It featured different Community Supported Agriculture programs. CSAs allow growers to directly reach their consumers. 

CSA programs have been growing in popularity since the 1980's, and now more than 1,700 farms are involved with them. But despite their popularity, the concept of a CSA program can be a bit confusing for some consumers. 

“It’s almost like buying shares in a company through the stock market," says food contributor Kyle Cherek. "You write a check at the beginning of the season for produce… [that] you get weekly or biweekly specifically from that farm."

Boxes of produce from CSA programs often feature little-known vegetables, and a bounty of produce that some can find daunting. 

“The big reason people say they don’t want to use a CSA is because they say, ‘Gosh, I’m gonna get this big box of food and what will I do with it?’ Trust me. If you occupy your own kitchen, you will find something to do with it,” Cherek says.

Bonnie North
Bonnie joined WUWM in March 2006 as the Arts Producer of the locally produced weekday magazine program Lake Effect.
Kyle Cherek is a culinary historian and food essayist. He was the former host of Wisconsin Foodie on PBS, and for over a decade he has chronicled regional food stories, exploring where our food comes from, and how it shapes who we are. His signature wit and keen observations have made him a sought-after keynote speaker, media contributor, and culinary storyteller. Kyle has been awarded the Wisconsin Broadcast Association Award twice for his compelling essays on food culture.