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#SustainabilitySunday: Employee CSA Benefit

We approach every part of our business -- from ingredients and packaging to employee benefits and community involvement -- with sustainability in mind. We also believe that food matters to our health, happiness, and the well being of our planet. It should be delicious, nutritious, and good for all involved in producing it. When the word sustainability is discussed, it is often in reference to material goods, i.e. is this product good for the planet? While this is of the utmost importance, we try to take a holistic view of sustainability and the practices that maintain it. When we do this, we recognize that the well-being of our team members is paramount to our success as a business; if their work and lifestyle are not sustainable, then our business is not sustainable. We created our employee benefits package with this in mind, which, along with subsidized healthcare and a wellness stipend, includes a CSA stipend as well. A CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture, refers to a program in which an individual can pre-purchase a share of the upcoming harvest directly from a local farm. At regular intervals throughout the growing season (usually weekly or bi-weekly), the customer receives a selection of goods that were harvested that week (and often that day!). It’s a mutually beneficial arrangement that allows farmers to secure funds ahead of the busy growing season, and in return, customers receive the freshest possible ingredients with maximum nutritional value. This also strengthens the bond and appreciation between the people who grow food and those who eat it; farmers learn more about the needs of their community while educating them about the food chain, the expanse of vegetable varieties not commonly found in the local supermarket, and encouraging home cooking. Some CSAs include recipe cards to help their customers tackle even the trickiest of vegetables. In previous years, our employees have joined CSAs from local farms such as Fickle Creek Farm and Elysian Fields Farm and noted that the weekly bounty inspires them to learn how to prepare vegetables that they may not have otherwise. For instance, an abundance of radishes and turnips gave BSR Nut Butter Production Manager Matt McElroy the opportunity to explore myriad ways to prepare these roots, a task he may not have tackled on his own. By providing $150 to put towards a CSA, we hope to support our employees’ efforts to eat healthy, locally grown meals, and in turn support our local farmers. This year we’re working with Red’s Quality Acre, who have simplified the CSA process for our employees by offering to drop off weekly boxes of produce right here at BSR HQ! One of the things we love about Red's is their dedication to accessibility: it can be difficult for some community members to pay upfront for an entire season's worth of veggies, and they are one of the few CSAs in our area who offer a payment plan!

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