By Nelson Dow
Bird’s Haven Farm is a little sanctuary nestled just five miles outside of Granville Village. A multi-generational family owned and operated farm, you’ll find the four young daughters of farmers Lee and Lindsey Bird romping around rows of kale, tomatoes, broccoli and hot peppers.
Bird’s Haven operates a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program for the Denison community, which was born out of student initiative.
“Students came to me about creating more healthy and local food options for the campus community”, says Jeremy King ‘97, Denison’s Campus Sustainability Coordinator, “I reached out to Bird’s Haven about coming to campus to do a special Denison CSA.”
Through the CSA Denison seniors, faculty and staff can pick up weekly boxes of fresh produce. The program operates from Sept. 10 to Nov. 5, the height of Ohio’s growing season.
Weekly boxes vary, and participants can expect everything from winter squash and sweet potatoes, to tomatoes and swiss chard. “What I enjoy most is seeing the wide participation from students, faculty and staff,” King says. The Denison CSA is now in its fifth season and has been hugely successful, selling out their 35 subscriptions every Fall.
For Rachel Auerbach ‘16 and her roommates, participating in the CSA was a no-brainer. “I think it’s so important to take what we learn as students and apply it in our everyday lives,” Auerbach says. “By supporting local farmers, we’re also supporting the local community and economy.”
Besides the CSA, there are plenty of ways for the Denison community to support local food. Every Saturday from May 9 to Oct. 31 is the Granville Farmer’s Market.
“One of the great joys of the Farmer’s Market is the sense of community,” says Michelle Brady, Granville Chamber of Commerce’s Marketing Coordinator, “the market is the heart of our community on Saturday mornings, and it would be incomplete without a student presence.”
The more than 60 vendors sell everything from fruits and vegetables, meats, cheeses and breads, to cake-pops, whoopie pies and mustard.
Denison students can also get locally-sourced foods delivered to campus through the Big Red Buyer’s Club (BRBC). Founded by alumnae Emily Marguerite ’15 and Jennifer Curry ’15, BRBC partners with local producers to deliver staples such as milk, flour, yogurt and beans directly to campus.
Denison also supports local foods on an institutional level, sourcing an average of 500 lbs. of produce a week from Bird’s Haven Farms for the dining halls.
“Every day we can have a huge impact with our forks – we can choose local foods that support our community directly,” King says. “More and more people are talking about local foods on campus.”