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Peppers from the SIU Sustainable Farm are shown in August 2015. SIU will conduct a true CSA for the first time this year.

The Southern File Photo

CARBONDALE — Southern Illinois University Student Sustainable Farm will operate a true CSA for the first time this year.

CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture, is one way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from farms. Consumers buy a share of a farm for the season. Then, they receive farm products weekly or bi-weekly throughout the season.

SIU Student Sustainable Farm offered a CSA of sorts, but could only collect money weekly. The group, which is a registered student organization, received permission in March to collect payment up front for this season.

“We had to get permission from SIU legal department,” April Vigardt, a researcher and manager at SIU's Center of Sustainable Farming and Sustainable Vegetable Farm, said.

The CSA will run for 20 weeks, from June 1 to Oct. 21. Full shares will be $500, half shares $300 and student shares (with a valid student I.D.) $200. A full share is like paying $25 per week for produce.

“It really ensures that the money is there so we know who we can hire, how many we can hire and when, and that the money is there for supplies,” Vigardt said.

Members are responsible for showing up at the pick-up site each week for their share of freshly harvested produce. Pick-up will be from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesdays at the agriculture building, by the building sign near Lincoln Drive, or from 4 to 6 p.m. Fridays at the farm, 3373 Pleasant Hill Drive (vermicomposting center).

While the farmers will do their best to provide a bountiful share of produce each week, the quantity and variety of produce may very due to weather, insects or other production factors.

The farm is expected to produce these crops:

June: Asian greens, baby kale/greens mix, beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, chard, cilantro, kale, lettuce, radishes, salad mix, spinach and scallions or young onions.

July and August: basil, cantaloupe, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, green beans, onions, peppers, Italian red roasting peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, watermelon, winter melon and summer squash.

September and October: Everything above with the addition of sweet potatoes, broccoli, cabbage, spinach and more.

For more information, contact Vigardt at avigardt@siu.edu or 618-453-1791.

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