CSA Day is Here!

Today is CSA Day, a tradition which was started in 2014 by an organization called Small Farm Central. The purpose of the effort is to celebrate the hard work of local farmers across the country, and take the opportunity to support them by joining their CSAs.

What exactly is a CSA? “CSA stands for ‘community supported agriculture,’ which is a direct-to-customer business model for farmers. In the traditional CSA model, people pay for a season’s worth of produce sometimes months in advance. This is great for the farmers because they get the revenue when they most need it to get ready for the growing season.”

Purchasing a CSA is a commitment to an individual farm; A seasons worth of guaranteed sale’s which can carry the farm through what can be a very tumultuous financial situation of waxing and waning restaurant or farmers market sales. When you purchase a CSA from an individual farm, you are putting your name on a piece of ground and you are truly along for the ride. With that commitment comes any number of issues which might arise: a failed crop, infestation, a sudden unfortunate change in weather, and so on can affect the volume you see in your share each week. Conversely, sometimes there is a surplus which you also get to experience. Purchasing a CSA from a single farm is always an exciting prospect.

Here at the Bring It Food Hub we employ a different approach. As an aggregator of fresh local food which works to expand market opportunities to specialty crop growers in our area, we offer a similar experience to a CSA. However, since we do not have any physical property and purchase produce from farmers, we do not offer a true CSA but rather a Produce Subscription. This approach gives us a different opportunity to support our farmers, by offering them a diversified revenue stream aside from their individual farm CSA sales, farmers market sales, and restaurant sales. Furthermore, farmers selling into our Produce Subscription service have the chance to extend their brand to a new audience as we take their beautiful product and name, to our drop sites throughout the area. People who otherwise might not have ever heard of these small growers now have the chance to experience them firsthand in their home kitchens. We are proud of our work with our farmers and are continually expanding our roster of growers.

So this CSA Day we encourage you to take part in a subscription, whether it be through an individual farm, or by supporting multiple farms at once through the Bring It Food Hub Produce Subscription.  This weekend we are offering a 10% discount on all Subscription orders as well as a free Bring It Food Hub tote bag! Use the code CSADAY at checkout to take advantage of this deal. Spring 2017 Subscriptions are now available for sign up at www.BringItFoodHub.com.

Looking to take part in a single farm CSA? Check out these great farms!

Giving Food a Second Life

Hey everyone! I want to talk about food recovery.  I’m willing to bet that the majority of people in this city throw away food because it has gone bad before it could be eaten.  How many bananas or heads of lettuce were trashed because of their short shelf life?  According to a recent article on food waste in the Huffington Post, “…moving food from farm to table accounts for 50 percent of land use in the US, 10 percent of total energy consumption, and 80 percent of all freshwater used. Despite these inputs, only 60 percent of the food produced in the US is actually eaten, with 52 percent of fruits and vegetables thrown out. This equates to $165 billion of food waste each year.” 

At Bring It Food Hub, we typically end up with 50 to 100 pounds of extra produce either from people donating their bag for the week, or from farmers providing a little extra produce to make up for damaged items.  So every week, we sort through the left over produce and donate all the food that is still fresh to food pantries in the city.

3078625489_c76bcda278_oLuckily, Memphis has some great local resources that you can use to help eliminate food waste.  There are a number of food pantries in the Memphis area that take fresh, whole produce and distribute it to people in need.  These institutions are usually stocked full of canned and shelf-stable items which is great; but you can’t tell me that fresh green beans aren’t better than canned, or that a fresh pear isn’t amazingly refreshing in this Memphis heat.

Bring It Food Hub personally donates all subscription produce bags that are not picked up during the week to food pantries through our Pay It Forward program.  There are many ways to participate in the Pay It Forward Program. When you join any produce subscription, Pay It Forward bags can be purchased as an add-on item. If you are not a regular Bring It produce subscription customer, you can exclusively purchase Pay It Forward bags at our online store, here.  All Pay It Forward purchases are considered a tax deductible donation. 

Below is a list of food pantries Bring It Food Hub donates to each week, and you can too!  Please feel free to reach out to these organizations if you wish to learn more about how to make a donation.

First Congregational Church – The food pantry at First Congregational Church in the Cooper Young neighborhood is open from 11am-1pm: https://www.firstcongo.com/calendar-item/food-pantry/

St. John’s United Methodist Church – The food pantry at St. John’s United Methodist Church accepts food donations every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9-11am: http://www.stjohnsmidtown.org/outreach/food-ministries/food-pantry/

Ample Harvest – AmpleHarvest.org is an online platform that allows you to find active food pantries in your area: http://ampleharvest.org/find-pantry/

We recommend contacting all food pantries to confirm operating hours before making your donation.

Staff Stories: Rob Coleman

My name is Rob Coleman, and I am the Bring It Food Hub assistant.  My wife and I love to garden, cook local food, and raise chickens.  I believe that the food you choose to buy and consume impacts the meals you prepare, the economy where it comes from, and your personal health.  That is why I think my employment at the Bring It Food Hub is a perfect fit. It not only pays the bills, but it reflects my personal beliefs and the lifestyle I want to uphold.


I was hired at the Bring It Food Hub about three months ago, and it has been one of the most enjoyable places I have ever worked!  I get to stay active most of the day handling fruits and veggies; but more importantly, I get to hang out with the farmers who grow our food.  In fact, the other night I was having dinner with my dad and I had provided the desert (homemade peach ice cream), and I was proud to say, “Dad, did you know that I got to shake the hand of the guy who grew these peaches this morning?”.  I think that many of us take our food for granted, and it’s humbling to see the person who was working hard that morning to grow and deliver the food I’m going to eat.

As much as I try, I’m NOT as productive with my garden as I’d like to be; but when I have extra veggies, plants, or eggs, I try to give as much as I can to my friends and family.  That’s another aspect of my life that is very akin to my job.  The Bring It Food Hub has a Pay It Forward Program where people buy a CSA with the sole purpose of donating it to someone in need of fresh food that they wouldn’t be able to buy on their own.

Last Friday, I took some Pay It Forward bags to a food pantry that distributes canned goods and typically doesn’t have fresh fruits and vegetables.  When I pulled up, there was a man who was distressed, underweight, and a diabetic who had recently suffered a heart attack.  I was told that the man was desperate, and specifically asked for fresh produce, and that it must have been fate that I showed up when I did.  It was amazing to see the direct benefit of our donation, and it reminds me that the work we do really helps people in our city.

Members of the Bring It Food Hub and Memphis Tilth who own chickens; myself included, have donated dozens of eggs to pair with the Pay It Forward donations.  Eggs are a great source of nutrition, and I would encourage anyone who raises chickens to help donate any eggs when possible.

I can’t overstate how great it is to have the job I have; to be doing work I believe in, and to make a difference in the city where I live.