By this time of year, summer is in full swing and the busy has set in with things like vacations, BBQs, and gearing up for back to school. At Big River Farms, we are at the peak of our growing season – tomatoes are ripening, sweet corn can be eaten fresh from the field and zucchinis grow the size of footballs overnight if we don’t harvest them in time!
In this busy time, it’s important to pause and remember that the reason we do all of this is because we want to put people first and to nourish our community.
Beyond Farming – The Early Birds
The Early Birds is just one farm team among 11 that are currently farming at Big River Farms this season, made up of power couple Lue Lor and Kia Chang. Together, they have created a beautiful example of farmers that don’t just grow food – they nourish communities.
In 6.5 acres they grow enough food to help support a 156-member CSA, meet the demand for wholesale contracts, and to sell at local farmers markets. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. It is a weekly delivery of vegetables direct from the farm in exchange for purchasing a share at the beginning of the season. CSA members receive these shares June through October.
Among the most impressive of Lue and Kia’s wholesale contracts includes a partnership with The Food Group, made possible by Lakewinds Food Co-op, as well as a partnership with Minneapolis Public Schools and Shared Ground Farmer’s Cooperative.
Thanks to Lakewinds Food Co-op, kid-friendly vegetables grown by The Early Birds throughout August and September will be distributed by The Food Group to various food shelves. This week, for example, they harvested 10 cases of cucumbers, 13 cases of cherry tomatoes, 10 cases of green beans, and 12 cases of zucchini! That’s over 500 pounds of organic produce that will be distributed, for free, to local families in need.
Through Shared Ground’s Farmer Cooperative, Lue and Kia will be distributing celery to Minneapolis Public School’s Farm to School program, whose goal is to serve local produce in school meals and to provide students hands-on opportunities to learn about food, nutrition, and agriculture. Even more impressive is that Lue and Kia are making history as the first farmers in Minnesota to have locally grown celery in the Minneapolis Public School system. If you are interested in reading more about The Early Birds and their story, follow this link.
The Food Group is proud to strengthen our community through food. We are grateful for all the farmers that choose to farm with Big River Farms, and in the process grow both food and community. To learn more about Big River Farms, as well as our other food access and hunger relief programs, please check out our website or connect with us on facebook.
This post was written by Eric Wilson, Big River Farms Food Hub Manager. Questions? Contact Eric.