Local Foods

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    2014 Annual South Dakota Local Foods Conference Announced

    The dates for the fourth annual South Dakota Local Foods Conference have been set for November 14-15, 2014 to be held at the SDSU Extension Sioux Falls Regional Center at 2001 E. Eighth St., Sioux Falls, SD. The Local Foods Conference is sponsored by a collaboration of partners such as SDSU Extension, South Dakota USDA Rural Development, South Dakota Specialty Producers Association, Dakota Rural Action, National Relief Charities and the North Central Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education.

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    What is a CSA?

    CSA’s, short for Community Supported Agricultural Programs, are gaining popularity across the nation as well as in South Dakota. This is an additional avenue for producers to direct market their produce to local consumers. This type of program allows a farmer to sell subscriptions or shares prior to the growing season. When the produce or food product is harvested it is then delivered on a scheduled basis to the customer.

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    Consumer Concerns with CSA programs

    Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs offer many benefits to consumers, but there are also challenges that a producer must face while trying to keep customers happy. In many CSA models, the customer is given a box of produce that has been selected by the grower. This is different than a grocery store or farmers market situation where the consumer can hand-select the produce to meet their quality preferences.

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    Community Gardens: Applications

    The application document will ensure that you have contact information for participants as well as a procedure for fairness in allocating plots. Consider how participants will be selected. Will they be picked in the order that applications are received? Will returning gardeners be given first priority to plots? Will a certain number of plots be available at a reduced fee or scholarship to encourage those with income barriers to participate?

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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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