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    Community Gardens: Garden Rules

    It is necessary to have a clear set of rules or guidelines established for community garden participants. Every garden and community is different, so local organizers will want to establish rules that work best for their program. When developing your garden’s rules or guidelines include a range of perspectives, from the leadership team to the landowner to the gardeners.

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    CSA Subscription ‘Box’

    Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) subscriptions vary by producers; there is no set rule on the package size or box contents. Clearly define what your subscription package will look like and provide examples of the contents it will likely contain over the season. Make sure that consumers understand that produce is seasonal. Items like asparagus, rhubarb, strawberries, and salad greens will be heavier in the spring, while tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, and melons will arrive later in the summer.

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    Dehydrating Apples

    Food drying is one of the oldest methods of preserving food for later use. Drying removes the moisture from the food so bacteria, yeast and mold cannot grow and spoil the food. Drying also slows down the action of enzymes (naturally occurring substances which cause foods to ripen), but does not inactivate them. Increasing the temperature of the food makes its moisture evaporate, and air moving over the food carries the moisture away.

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    Safe and Quality Apples from the Orchard to the Consumer

    Fall is here, and apple-picking season has started. Growers have several options to market their fresh apple crop. They may sell directly to the consumer at a roadside stand, at the orchard, farmer’s market, pick your own at the orchard, or through a retail or wholesale market. Selling safe apples starts in the field and must be evaluated throughout the entire process.

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    CSA Benefits: A Producer Perspective

    Is a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) market right for you? There are several benefits for producers to consider when determining if you should utilize this marketing outlet. Instead of trying to obtain financing from a financial institution, the CSA model asks your customers to provide funding up front, before the growing season, which will provide you with cash for early season purchases such as seeds, plants, equipment, and packaging.

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    Clearing up Consumer Confusion: What are Conventional, Organic, and Local Foods?

    According to USDA’s MyPlate, people who eat more fruits and vegetables as part of an overall healthy diet are likely to have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases. It is recommended that we make half our plate fruits and vegetables. More specifically, adults need 2-1/2 to 3 cups of vegetables and 1-1/2 to 2 cups of fruit daily, depending on age, sex and level of activity.  

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    Benefits Beyond Blood: Rapid City Children’s Garden

    On September 7th, we celebrate National Grandparents Day! It is an exciting opportunity for grandchildren and grandparents to spend time together. But those activities don’t have to be confined to people who are family. Older adults and children benefit from engaging in activities, even if they are not related.

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    SDSU Extension Garden-Based Education Newsletter

    SDSU Extension provides regular updates for garden educators though their Garden-Based Education Newsletter. This newsletter features lesson ideas linked to core subject areas, garden stories featuring projects across the state of South Dakota, horticultural information, links to educational videos, links to current grant opportunities, and a Pick it! Try It! Like It! feature- a produce item from the garden with recipe, preparation video and supporting lesson plans.

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    Garden Clubs & Associations

    Novice gardeners and master gardeners share a love of and respect for nature, which is one of the many reasons why they naturally seek out like-minded individuals to organize clubs or associations. Many cities and counties have their own clubs or associations and the following is not a complete listing, but rather a beginning resource for connecting with others in the gardening community.

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    Additional Local Food Marketing Venues

    Local food producers have a variety of options for marketing their products. Consider on-farms sales for those interested in connecting directly with the consumer at the farm. The set-up could include a farm store, a U-pick or Pick-Your-Own operation and other agritourism components. These features will be appealing to people seeking extremely fresh produce, canners and cooks that are seeking large quantities of product at a reduced cost, and families looking for a weekend activity, wanting their children to experience farm life and food production.

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    Cooperative Networks in Local Foods

    Local foods communities across the nation are working together to form cooperative networks in attempt to have a large portion of local food sales while reducing inputs. Working together to streamline issues related to production processes and inputs, distribution, processing, use or consumption, recycling and disposal of food wastes, and support services to operate can all be explored as individuals begin to collaborate. These articles provide some options for exploring producer and community partnerships.

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