Treasure Valley Local Food

Community Supported Agriculture

CSA farms are an inexpensive way for households to gain access to fresh local produce. Most, if not all,  tout their all-natural farming methods or organic farming practices. According to the Idaho Food Bank and LocalHarvest.org, approximately 20 CSA farms operate in the Treasure Valley cities of Boise, Eagle, Garden City, Hidden Springs, Kuna, Meridian and Nampa.

Community Gardens

Community gardens provide individual garden plots to individuals and families who lack appropriate gardening space. People not only benefit from eating their own home-grown fresh food, they meet other gardeners and become part of a social community that enhances their well-being. These Treasure Valley gardens exist for a variety of reasons. Some were started by a few individuals who desired to eat more healthy fresh fruit and vegetables. Others are faith-based gardens, with the primary goal of giving food aid to people in need. Still others are gardens for refugees, allowing them to employ their farming skills, grow culturally-desirable food and provide healthy affordable meals to their families.

Public support for community gardens is growing. The Boise Department of Parks and Recreation has guidelines for establishing a community garden on city property. There are currently two Boise City parks with community gardens: Borah Park and the Comba Site. The Borah Park community garden is managed by the Borah Neighborhood Association. It is well established and was funded in part by a grant from the Mayor’s Neighborhood Reinvestment program totaling $30,611. The Comba Site on 5 Mile Rd. south of the intersection of Ustick Rd. is used by the neighborhood residents. The Comba community garden is managed by the Comba Garden Tenants Association. Click here for a list of community gardens.

Farmers’ Markets

At least nine major farmers’ markets operate seasonally in the region, with one or more in Boise, Meridian, Kuna, Middleton, Eagle, Caldwell and Nampa. The majority of markets open in April or May and continue until September or October.

Farmers’ Market Name

City

Start

End

Idaho Preferred?

Capital City Public Market

Boise

April

December

Yes

East End Market @ Bown Crossing

Boise

May

September

Yes

The Boise Farmers’ Market

Boise

April

October

Yes

Caldwell Farmers’ Market

Caldwell

May

September

Yes

Eagle Saturday Market

Eagle

April

October

Yes

Kuna Farmers’ Market

Kuna

May

September

Yes

Meridian Farmers’ Market and Bazaar

Meridian

April

September

Yes

Middleton Farmers’ Market

Middleton

May

October

No

Nampa Farmers’ Market

Nampa

April

October

Yes

 

Sources: LocalHarvest.org, Idaho Food Bank, Idaho Preferred

Local Food in Stores and Restaurants

The Idaho Preferred Program helps Idaho residents identify those establishments that source their products locally. An arm of the Idaho Department of Commerce, Idaho Preferred maintains a database of current members across the state that includes producers, distributers, processors, retailers and restaurants. According to Idaho Preferred, the program has certified 34  producers in the vicinity of the Boise River. Elsewhere, nearly 40 more processors, 13 more retailers and 13 more restaurants have been certified by the program. Of particular note is Albertsons Inc., one of the largest grocery store chains in the region.

School and Institutional Food Production

Boise Urban Garden School (BUGS) offers programs that teach children the value of producing and consuming food grown locally, as well as give them the keys to eating healthfully. BUGS offers summer programs for children or schools can schedule field trips to visit a BUGS site. Educators may also purchase materials from BUGS to help them in establish a garden at their school, and adults can participate in the “Row by Row” Garden Education Series in order to gain the necessary skills to garden organically or to start their own community garden.

Another local food program, supported by the Idaho Department of Agriculture, is Farm to School. The goals of this program are to offer local farmers a market for their fresh food, to provide healthy food to students, and to give students learning opportunities relating to food and farming. According to the Idaho Preferred website, 15 elementary, middle and high schools currently take part in Farm to School. At least three other school gardens are used as outdoor classrooms, too, in addition to supplementing their schoo’ls menus.

Sources

Idaho Department of Agriculture. (N/A, N/A N/A). Farm to School. Retrieved June 14, 2013, from Idaho Preferred: http://idahopreferred.com/farm-to-school/

Idaho Department of Agriculture. (N/A, N/A N/A). Find a Local Producer. Retrieved June 14, 2013, from Idaho Preferred: http://idahopreferred.com/consumers/find-a-producer.htm

Idaho Food Bank. (N/A, N/A N/A). Idaho Community Supported Agriculture. Retrieved May 5, 2013, from Idaho Food Bank: http://idahofoodbank.org/community_gardens/?page_id=1086

Idaho State Department of Education. (2013, N/A N/A). School Gardens. Retrieved June 14, 2013, from Idaho State Department of Education: http://www.sde.idaho.gov/site/cnp/schoolgarden/