Conservation Corner

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Pauline Lee

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a movement across the country to connect local farmers with their community. In our metro area, Spaces of Opportunity (Spaces) was created in 2015 by two non-profits, Desert Botanical Garden and Cultivate South Phoenix, to use urban farming in the southwest part of Phoenix to improve the lives and future of the community. Spaces has hired neighborhood residents to redevelop 18 acres of trashed land leased from Roosevelt School District at 12th Avenue and 1198 W. Vineyard Rd.

During these three years, Spaces has developed the land into a 10-acre incubator farm, family gardens and an on-site farmers market. More than 400 students and parents in the 18 schools within the school district have learned from master gardeners on weekends. They have also become aware of the health benefits of consuming fresh produce. Funds have been raised with community participation to buy farming equipment, to enable immigrants in the local community to apply their skill as gardeners and for farmers to get a living wage by working on the incubator farm. A site has been reserved for community events and a block-long mural on the eastside wall tells the story of the community.

You can enjoy the seasonal produce grown naturally with no chemicals by the community farmers at Spaces. Spaces sells subscriptions for a weekly tote of fresh produce – each share costs $25 and has 9-10 items intended to feed four people. A weekly share will typically include lettuce and at least one variety of seasonal greens, two to three vegetables, herbs and fruit when possible. In order to receive the freshest produce possible, members should pick up their share on the scheduled day and time. When necessary, a member’s share can be cancelled in advance, picked up by a designated person or donated to a family selected by CSA. You can sign up for your share at spacesharvest.csaware.com/customer-select-2017-2018-season-C8664. More information can be obtained by contacting spacesofopportunity@gmail.com or 480-270-9414.

If you prefer the freedom of selecting your own produce, the farmers market is open 8:00 a.m. to noon every Saturday from the first week of November to the end of June. Or you can get together with friends to take one subscription and divide up the weekly produce to suit everyone’s needs. Fresh produce has the best nutrients for supporting our good gut bacteria. These bacteria help us to maintain our health by regulating our immune system – from weight gain to inflammations that lead to heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease and diabetes. Why not take advantage of this golden opportunity to help both your health and South Phoenix Community? Spaces also needs volunteers to help on the farm, at the farmers market and with administrative tasks. If you are interested, please contact Nicolas de la Fuente at nfuente@dbg.org or at 480-309-3481.