Sunday, December 4, 2016

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A close-up of fresh produce from Suzie's Farm. A close-up of fresh produce from Suzie's Farm.

A Growing Community

The Children's Center partners with Suzie's Farm to provide organic produce for its families.
By Ashley Vaughn

At a glance, the softball-sized avocado from Suzie’s Farm appears it could contend in the state fair’s giant avocado-growing competition.

The avocado is one of the 10 items packed in Suzie’s Farm’s produce boxes this week.

The boxes of organic produce, available to families at the SDSU Associated Students Children’s Center in exchange for a fee, are a part of Suzie’s Farm Raiser Program. Suzie’s Farm Raiser Program offers schools and nonprofit organizations, like the Children’s Center, a creative and healthy fundraising option.

More about 'farm raisers'

For every box that is sold, the Children’s Center receives a portion of the profit.

“We conduct a parent satisfaction survey every year at the Children’s Center,” said Robin Judd, director at the Children’s Center. “And every year, parents ask for more organic foods. This was our answer.”

In addition to providing families with fresh produce, the Children’s Center splits two boxes of the weekly harvest between its classrooms. The food is then used in cooking and tasting demonstrations in the classrooms. The program exposes children to fruits and vegetables they may have never heard of or tired.

The profits from the program also support the community garden project at the Children’s Center. The community garden planted in the summer, yielded zucchinis in December. The children learned how to plant, grow and harvest their own food.

“The children develop a sense of pride in knowing how to grow and care for their own food,” Judd said. “They learn that it’s not as easy as going to the supermarket and grabbing something off the shelf.”

The Children’s Center hopes to expand the community garden and offer plots to the community, as well as expand the Suzie's Farm CSA partnership to students, faculty and staff with help from Associated Students’ Green Love and the SDSU Enviro-Business Society.

What is a CSA?

CSA or community-supported agriculture, allows consumers to buy fresh and seasonal produce from local farmers.

Farmers offer shares or membership to consumers for a fee. Typically, a share consists of a box of produce or other products from the farm. By becoming a shareholder of a CSA, member’s prepaid fees support farm operations in exchange for a portion of the harvest.

Sixty-five percent of San Diego County’s farms consist of nine acres or less, and are often family operated. By supporting a CSA, more money goes directly to the farmer instead of the middle man. Not to mention, purchasing locally grown food helps maintain agricultural diversity by keeping specialty crop growers in business.

According to the San Diego County Farm Bureau, food travels anywhere from 1,500 to 2,500 miles from the farm to the dinner table.

Buying locally grown food reduces the energy consumption and environmental pollution involved in transporting food long distances. Plus, local produce, which is picked at the height of ripeness, is fresh and packed full of nutrients.  

About Suzie’s Farm

Suzie’s Farm grows more than 100 different crops per year, and provides seasonal produce boxes in small or regular sizes, which offer between six to 15 freshly harvested items. Boxes of Suzie’s Farm produce are available to shareholders for six to 12 week commitments, and are available for pickup weekly or biweekly at 25 locations in San Diego.

Suzie’s Farm is located on 70 acres near the Tijuana Estuary, and partially in San Diego’s Border State Park in South Bay. To learn more about Suzie’s Farm visit