Every Wednesday, Andy Fellenz, owner of Fellenz Family Farm in Phelps, N.Y., brings his produce to Trinity Church in Geneva, where members of the community can get a weekly share thanks to a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. Students who live in the Green and Sustainability Theme Houses have been members of the program for several years.
“The Green House wanted to make sure we were giving back to the community and consuming local produce,” says Loren Marshall ’13, who has lived in the Green House for two years.
Fellenz, who began the CSA seven years ago at the urging of HWS faculty and staff members, couldn’t be more pleased at the involvement of the Colleges and community members. “My costumers are very engaged and interested in what they are eating and want to learn more,” says Fellenz. “I’m dealing with people who are happy to be here, who want to try new things and who want to eat well, fresh and local.”
Students are also finding that the CSA is bringing together their houses – and teaching them about local agriculture. “Whatever vegetables are in the share for the week is what you get – and that’s one of the cool and exciting things,” says Eli Gleason ’12, manager of the Green House. “When we bring this stuff home, Wednesday nights become a big ‘look through the cookbook night.’ We find out what a certain veggie is good for and get to experiment with it.”
“I’m impressed and amazed that student houses are joining the CSA, that they are cooking and eating like this,” explains Fellenz. “It’s neat that students are involved in what they are eating. Some of the students even come out and do farm work.”
In fact, students living in the Sustainability House last year helped plant the garlic that is included in this year’s shares. “When they came back this year they said, ‘Oh, that’s my garlic! We’re going to take that today because I put that in the ground,'” recalls Fellenz.
However, being a part of a CSA is not simply about having fresh vegetables each week, but about adjusting one’s lifestyle. “It’s thinking about moving forward, doing what you can to live a green future and be sustainable,” says Marshall. “It’s important to be looking local and thinking within miles of you instead of having apples shipped from down south or fruit from California. It’s making sure you are supporting the people around you, keeping your economy alive. It’s healthy for you and for your community.”
For more information about the Fellenz Family Farm and their Geneva CSA program, visit http://fellenzfamilyfarm.com/.