Just what the doctor ordered: Food Bank of Delaware’s CSA box

August 16, 2022

It’s one thing to say “Make healthy food choices at the grocery store.” But there are many people who would love to buy healthy food, and quickly realize – as Newark resident Sara did: “It’s expensive to eat healthy.”

Before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sara spoke to her primary care provider at Westside Family Healthcare, and that doctor recognized the family’s need. Sara received a referral to participate in the Food Bank’s Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program; now her family of five has ongoing access to fresh, local vegetables and fruit.

Most of the produce in the box is grown right on the Food Bank’s own five-acre farm located at the Newark facility.

This 22-week program, explained Community Farm Coordinator John O’Connor, is grant funded. “It’s a first-come, first-serve basis… Participants pick up from both the Milford and Newark facilities and they [boxes] are also delivered through Amazon,” he said.

“The benefits are obvious,” said Sara, who has gotten quite creative with the mixed produce packed into a single cardboard box. She’s made some well-received smoothies that include strawberries, kale, peaches. If her children – ages 16, 10, and almost 4 — don’t drink all of the tasty – and healthy – brew, Sara uses it to make popsicles.

“It’s also been fun,” noted this mom. “We are using stuff we never thought of, and I enjoy going online to look up new recipes.” And she’s also successfully researched creative ways to get her children to try new foods. Take carrots, for example. Her youngest daughter avoids carrots, but loves shredded carrots. “I have a new ability to sneak healthy foods into the kids,” she said.

Sara says while her husband is able to work, it’s the state of the country’s economic situation that stretches her family’s financial resources – including their youngest daughter’s WIC benefits — to the limit.

She’s also kind enough to extend the healthy benefit she’s received to a neighbor. “We carpool to the Food Bank to get our CSA boxes. My neighbor has cancer, and she’s out of work now. With the price of gas, we carpool!”

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