I have some great news to pass along today! HealthShare, a local health coverage program, now includes CSA membership in their Wellness Rewards program. This program provides discounted coverage when people participate in health-related activities, such as going to the gym and now participating in a CSA program. If you have coverage through HealthShare, please contact them about this program, or go to http://lssfa.org/wellness for more information. This exciting initiative was begun by your farmers, the Institute for a Sustainable Future, the local CSA Guild, HealthShare, and the Lake Superior Sustainable Farming Association.
We’d like to expand this program to involve insurance companies such as Blue Cross and Medica in providing rebates for CSA membership. The Madison, WI, area has had a program like this in place for a number of years. It’s been very successful—they have 4 insurance companies involved—and saves members up to $200 per year! If we can demonstrate interest in CSAs by the members of these insurance programs, we might be able to expand what we have developed.
To that end we have developed a very quick survey of interest. If you would like your insurance provider to include CSA as an additional wellness option, please click on http://www.isfusa.org/csawellnessinitiatives.html and fill in the survey. Please feel free to share this survey with friends and colleagues. A number of studies have shown that CSA membership increases the variety and quantity of vegetables consumed, so it makes sense for farmers, eaters, and insurance companies alike!
The Lake Superior Sustainable Farming Association is holding its annual Farmers Take the Stage event tomorrow night (Friday) from 7-9 pm at Amazing Grace bakery and café in Canal Park. Your own farmer John has been practicing all week for his performance, and he’ll be joined by many performers ranging from talented to enthusiastic! More information is at http://www.lssfa.org/Events.html.
In other farm news, despite the chilly temperatures this week the greenhouse was 80 degrees yesterday, the onions and leeks have germinated and the first planting of tomatoes are in the large pots already. We’ll be experimenting with grafting tomatoes this year. Much like with fruit trees, grafting can combine a strong and disease resistant root stock with a top that produces many flavorful tomatoes. It’s a relatively new trend and it adds many layers of complexity to the greenhouse operation, but we’re excited about the possibilities. We also have all of our summer labor lined up—two new interns, Lee and Wes, will be joining us in addition to Jeanne who will be back for a second year. It’s been a busy winter, and Jane, John, Dave and I are excited to get the growing season under way!