How Community Supported Agriculture Nourishes Our Neighbors

Jan 17, 2023 | Blog

Since 1986, the Center for Living and Learning has provided recovery and reintegration for people with severe and persistent mental illness. Through residential and vocational programs, the Center helps residents recover from their mental illness in a holistic framework.

The vocational program includes a garden work program, which helps residents foster their skills and behaviors. The Center is located on serene, sprawling land in Williamson County where residents and community volunteers cultivate an amazing organic garden.

Starting last fall, residents have focused on garden clean up and prep. “During our lessons we are focusing on the “why” behind what we do in the garden and its importance,” shared Libby Cron, the Center’s horticulture manager. Residents have taken a deep dive into soil and soil health as one of the most important foundations in growing nutrient dense food.

In recent years, documentaries such Revolution Food and Kiss the Ground have explored our food system­–both domestic and abroad–and offered inspiring, sustainable practices and solutions to counter climate change, food scarcity, accessibility and hunger.

“I am trying to help them connect the dots with how they have the opportunity right here at the Center to make a difference in our community,” Libby said. This year, residents will add a variety of beautiful flowers and a new rose garden/sitting area for all to enjoy. The additions include three types of potatoes, many types of beans, edamame, corn, tons of greens and a wide variety of tomatoes. “We are also aiming to incorporate what we grow into cooking class and daily snacks.”

The Center is accepting Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) members for the 2023 growing season.

How does it work?
CSA members purchase a share upfront, which allows for the purchase of seeds, soil, equipment and more. CSA members receive a box with all the produce (organic fruits, vegetables and herbs) and flowers that residents grow in the garden each week of the growing season.

The first pick up date is Thursday, May 4. Pick-ups may start early if the garden yields produce prior to May 4. Pick-ups will be held on Thursdays from 12:00 – 3:00 p.m. through October (weather permitting).

The Center offers two types of shares. A 1/2 Share is $300 and feeds two to three people (1/4 bushel). A Full Share is $600 and feeds four to six people (1/2 bushel). Should the CSA last a full 26 weeks as planned, this breaks down to $12 a week for a 1/2 Share or $23 a week for a Full Share. Each week, CSA members will receive email updates with recipes featuring their box ingredients.

A deposit of $150 for 1/2 Shares or a deposit of $300 for Full Shares are due by Thursday, Feb. 2. The remaining balance is due by May 4. Space is limited and spots are reserved on a first come, first serve basis. All proceeds support the Center’s vocational programs. To sign up, email Libby at libby@centerforlivingandlearning.com.

Click here to watch Derek share more about the Center for Living and Learning.