There is nothing more comforting than a warm homemade meal on a cold night. This warm salad, using fresh, seasonal winter veggies and citrus fruit, will delight your senses and taste buds. And give you a healthy boost of vitamin C!
Here at Golden Gate Organics we make wellness a priority; for our customers, for ourselves, for the planet and even for our pets! Here are several of our favorite blogs on how to be your best self and how to create an environment of wellness in every area of your life.
It’s all About the Gut
Have you been hearing a lot about gut health and how it affects your entire body? The food you eat can have a huge impact, not only on your physical health but also your mental health. Here is how to Boost your Mood with Food and also the Benefits of Mindful Eating.
Sweet, Sweet, Sleep
Adequate, quality sleep is one of the best things you can do for your mood, your immune system and your overall quality of life. Check out these Natural Ways to Sleep Better.
Why not Wellness at Work?
Corporate wellness has come into focus recently and it makes sense. Healthy employees benefit their companies by having less sick days, being happier and also being more productive. Here is why we think a wellness fair or a corporate farmers market is a great next step to take for your corporate wellness program and how we can help!
The holiday season is upon us and with it, tons of delicious food. If you are vegetarian or just trying to add more plants into your holiday feast rotation, try one of these incredible vegetarian friendly, plant-based recipes from our friends at Twists and Zests!
This Mixed Green Spread is a great way to use up leftovers to create a yummy dip with veggies or potatoes wedges and can also be used as a pizza topping!
Have you seen that funny looking broccoli in the store recently? Well it’s called Romanesco, and it is delicious! Try it in this Romanesco and White Bean Pasta dish, it will satisfy even your meat-eating friends.
Beets are a sweet root vegetable full of important vitamins and minerals.
Beets help with detoxing, lowering blood pressure, and improving heart health They can increase energy levels and stamina as well as boost brain functions.
The root and the green tops are full of healthy nutrients. Eat beets hot or cold, in salads or in soups to get the full benefit of their natural nutrients.
Here are 15 health benefits associated with beets according to science.
1. Beets are a source of valuable nutrients and fiber
Beetroot contains vitamins A,C,and B group. They are a good source of calcium, iron magnesium, potassium, manganese and fibre. The main health benefit of beets comes from the pigment betalain that gives them the deep rich colour. Beets are a unique source of phytonutrients called betalains Betalains have powerful anti-oxidants and inflammatory properties.(2) Beets are also a source of beneficial flavonoids called anthocyanins. They are low in calories and contain no cholesterol but have a high sugar content. (3)
Eat beets and improve your overall health and diet.
2. Beet greens are edible
Beet greens, the leafy part of the vegetable are the healthiest part of the plant. They contain the vitamins and minerals found in the root as well as, fibre, vitamin B6, and have significant amounts of vitamin A and C, calcium and iron. The beet greens have more iron than spinach. Beet greens and beets keep your body fueled, they increase your efficiency and let your body make the best of the food you eat.
The leaves of the beetroot contain all the minerals and vitamins of the root and are very healthy to eat.
3. Beets can lower blood pressure
The inorganic nitrate content of beets is converted to nitric oxide which helps improve blood flow. This is beneficial on the cardiovascular system and helps reduce blood pressure and improve blood flow. Participants in a study found that within 6 hours blood pressure levels were significantly lower.(4) Drinking beet juice may help reduce blood pressure in a matter of hours. One study found that drinking a glass of beet juice lowered systolic blood pressure by an average of 4 – 5 points. The benefit comes from natural nitrates converted to nitric oxide in your body. Nitric oxide dilates blood vessels, Improves flow of blood and lowers blood pressure.
Natural nitrates in beets improve blood flow and lower blood pressure.
4. Beets fight inflammation
Beets can help fight inflammation. They are a source of betaine which protects cells from environmental stress. Eating beets regularly has a powerful effect due to their anti-inflammatory properties. Choline is a very important versatile nutrient of beetroot. It maintains the structure of cellular membranes, assists with the absorption of fat and reduces chronic inflammation. You can boost the anti-inflammatory potential of beets by preparing beet juices as a healthy way of taking advantage of all beets have to offer. The anti inflammatory effects of beets have been linked to cancer by helping fight tumors.
Eating beets regularly gives your body powerful anti inflammatory properties.
5. Beets boost stamina and energy levels
Beets have significant amounts of carbohydrates to provide fuel for energy and sports activities. Researchers have noticed that oxygen intake increases by up to 16% in stamina for exercise. The high nitrate content of beets is converted into energy which is safe to ingest because of its vegetable form. Researchers have said that beetroot can improve the cycling performance in healthy adults.(10)
Beets improve an athlete’s workout with the increase in oxygen to the blood and reduces blood pressure improving the physiological response to exercise. The improved oxygen delivery gives runners a performance boost. (5) Studies show nitric oxide increases the efficiency of the mitochondrial (energy powerhouse.(6)
Beets convert into energy and provide performance boosts for athletes.
6. Beets are good for heart health
The nutrient betaine found in beets lowers levels of homocysteine which can be harmful to blood vessels. Eating beetroot helps prevent cardiovascular diseases as the fibre in beets strip excess LDL cholesterol from the walls of the blood vessels and eliminates it from the body quickly. The presence of folate-vitamin B9 in beets has a therapeutic effect on the heart and betaine the betaine helps alleviate angina pain, shortness of breath, reduction of blood pressure and an improvement to the vascular system. (7) Antioxidants in beets prevent the deposition of bad cholesterol in the walls of the arteries and protect the heart from potential heart attacks. (8)
Eating beets helps to prevent cardiovascular disease and protects the heart from potential heart attacks.
7. Beets have anti cancer properties
The cancerous cell growth in lung, skin and colon cancer can be counteracted by the pigment betacyanin is obtained from drinking beet juice. Beetroot extract is being studied for use in treating pancreatic cancer, breast and prostate cancer. Studies show that betalains are good at protecting the body against developing some cancers like lung,stomach, colon and breast cancer.(9) The rich red colour of the beets comes from betacyanin, a plant pigment that some research indicates might help defend cells against harmful carcinogens. The unique fibre found in beets may be linked to a lower colon cancer risk.(10)
Beets support detoxification of the whole body and strengthen the immune system. Beetroot extract helps to get rid of free radicals from your body’s cells.
Studies have shown that beetroot is one of the most potent antioxidant drinks of all the vegetable and fruit juices. The betalin pigments in beets assist the phase two detoxification process. Broken down toxins are bound to other molecules so they can be excreted from your body. This helps purify your blood and your liver.
Beets are a unique source of phytonutrients called betalains. Betanin and vulgaxanthin are two best studied betalains and both have been shown to provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and detoxification support.
Beets can help detoxify the whole body and strengthen the immune system.
9. Beets are good for liver health
The betaines contained in beet juice stimulate the function of the liver. Extracts of beetroot help prevent fat accumulating in the liver. This reduces oxidative stress levels.Beet juice is a very effective way to help your liver to get rid of damaging toxins. The methionine and glycine betaine help keep fatty acid from building up in the liver.(11) The betaine in beets energises the functions of the liver cells and helps to protect the liver bile ducts. (12)
Beet juice is an effective way to help your liver get rid of damaging toxins.
10. Beets can reduce the risks of birth defects
Beets are very good for pregnant women as they are a rich source of vitamin B folate. This vitamin helps in the development of the infant’s spinal column. A deficiency of folate could lead to a variety of conditions called neural tube defects. The vitamin B folate lowers the dangers of birth defects in babies.
The vitamin B folate in beets is very good for pregnant women as the vitamin B helps in the development of the infant’s spinal column
11. Beets reduce the risk of strokes
A deficiency of potassium in the body increases the risk of strokes and so the beetroot that is rich in potassium is recommended to improve heart health. Potassium relaxes the blood vessels and reduces blood pressure throughout the body. Blood clots are less likely to form when blood pressure is reduced and vessels and arteries are no longer contracted.
Beetroot, rich in potassium, improves heart health and reduces the risk of blood clots.
12. Beets supports mental health
Beets are a good source of folate, also known as B-9 it is important for good brain health. Folate works with B12 to help iron function in your body and produce red blood cells. The nitric oxide produced from beets helps increase blood flow throughout your body. This improves blood flow to the frontal lobes of the brain.(5) Blood flow to the brain decreases with age and this can lead to a decline in cognition. Drinking beet juice can improve oxygenation to the brain slowing down the process of dementia (6) Beets have high levels of tryptophan that keeps you relaxed and calm. They also contain betalain used in anti-depressants.(13)
Beet juice can improve oxygenation to the brain slowing down the process of dementia.
13. Beets will strengthen the immune system
Beets are high in immune boosting vitamin C, fibre and essential minerals like potassium that is essential for the health of nerves and muscle function.Beet greens may help boost bone strength and strengthen your immune system by stimulating the production of antibodies and white blood cells.
Beets provide the immune boosting vitamin C with fibre and essential minerals that stimulate the production of antibodies.
14. Beets can act as an aphrodisiac
Beets contain significant levels of the mineral boron which is directly related to the production of human sex hormones.(14) This leads to a boost in libido, increased fertility, sperm mobility, and a reduction of frigidity in the bedroom.
The boron in beets boost libido and the production of human sex hormones.
15. Beets have anti-aging properties too
Beets can help prevent age related cataracts and reduce macular degeneration with its vitamin A, a powerful antioxidant substance that can defend the eye against free radicals. They can help prevent kidney damage as they get rid of free radicals that can cause kidney disease. Many studies indicate that eating more plant foods like beetroot decreases the risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease. It promotes a healthy complexion and hair. The unique pigment antioxidants in this root can lower cholesterol levels within the body and have anti ageing effects.
Beets are a unique plant food that have a powerful impact on the body in many different areas leading to a healthier life.
Different ways to prepare beets:
Juice your beets, blend with fresh orange, mint, pineapple and ginger. Blend and strain.
Grate beets and add to a coleslaw or salad.
Top toast with goat’s cheese and sliced beets.
Slice pickled beets and add to a salad.
Raw beets sliced and served with lemon and a sprinkle of chilli pepper.
Jen is a former Fortune 500 product manager and now even busier work at home mom of four. She has a keen eye for what makes a product tick from her more than 20 years of industry experience. She has a battery of tests she uses to test products against one another. In her little free time she loves yoga, hiking and travelling (she has been to 85 countries so far). She is also an aspiring cook who recently graduated from Le Cordon Bleu Paris, and specializes in contemporary cuisine and breadmaking.https://www.jenreviews.com/
Did you know that on average each of us makes around 200 decisions about food each day? These decisions include not only what we choose to eat, but also when, where, why and how we choose to eat. And, in today’s world, we have more options than ever when it comes to answering these questions.
Practicing mindfulness when making these food-related decisions can have a positive impact on your overall health and wellness. Eating mindfully has been shown to offer benefits like weight loss, improved appetite control, and healthier eating habits. Let’s dive deeper into the topic of mindful eating.
What is Mindful Eating?
The idea of mindful eating is based on the Buddhist concept of mindfulness. This concept stresses the importance of staying focused on the present moment rather than getting lost in thoughts of the past or future. Practicing mindfulness and mindfulness meditation can provide many wellness benefits including improved emotional resilience, improved decision-making skills, and decreased depression and anxiety.
When it comes to eating, mindfulness can help you to gain control of your eating habits. Mindful eating teaches you how to recognize your body’s natural hunger cues which encourages you to eat only when you’re truly hungry. Eating mindfully also encourages you to make intentional decisions when deciding what to eat. Here are some key questions that mindful eaters should consider when making food-related choices:
Am I truly hungry?
What beneficial nutrients does this food provide?
Where does this food come from?
How to Practice Mindful Eating
It’s easy to start eating mindfully. The most basic rule of mindful eating is to eat only when you’re hungry and to stop eating once you’re full. You should also eat slowly and avoid distractions like cell phones and TV while eating. Another key aspect of mindful eating is engaging your full range of senses. Pay attention to how your food looks, smells, feels, and tastes.
The Benefits of Mindful Eating
Mindful eating has been shown to provide many health benefits including:
Weight loss. Because mindful eating encourages you to make better decisions about food, it can lead to weight loss in the long run. Since eating mindfully encourages you to choose foods that provide beneficial fuel to the body, you’re more likely to choose healthy, nutritious foods over processed foods that contribute to weight gain.
Appetite control. Mindful eating helps you to control your appetite and eat fewer calories by encouraging you to slow down and enjoy the full experience of eating a meal. Slowing down allows your brain time to catch up and recognize when you’re satisfied.
Better eating habits. Mindful eating makes it more difficult to engage in unhealthy eating behaviors like binge eating, emotional eating, and external eating (eating in response to your environment). This is because each of these behaviors tends to be impulsive, and mindful eating encourages you to slow down and consider your choices.
Mindful eating is one of the most effective ways to improve your eating habits. By adopting mindful eating habits like eating slowly, avoiding mealtime distractions, and staying present throughout the experience of eating, you can begin to make better food-related decisions.
Kendria Patterson is a freelance health and wellness writer and digital marketer. She has a passion for writing content that inspires others to live happier, healthier lives. Some of her favorite topics include nutrition, fitness, mindfulness, and self-care. Learn more about her online at www.kendriawrites.com.
Most of us understand that the foods we eat have a direct impact on our physical health and well-being. But, did you know that the foods you eat can also affect your mental health?
The relationship between food and mental health becomes obvious when you step back and consider how much our moods guide our food choices–there’s a reason why we tend to reach for comfort foods and desserts during stressful moments.
There are many foods that can have a positive effect on your overall mood and mental health. Improved nutrition has been shown to boost the effectiveness of traditional mental health treatment methods, particularly for people who deal with depression or anxiety. And, even if you don’t live with one of these conditions, eating enough of the right foods can still positively affect your mood.
Here are a few nutritional tips that can help you experience the mood-boosting power of food.
Reduce Your Sugar Intake
Although eating sugar can give you a rush of happiness in the moment (especially if you have a major sweet tooth!), regularly eating large amounts of processed sugar can increase your long-term risk of suffering from depression and anxiety. A 2017 study that examined the sugar intake of over 20,000 people found that participants who ate more than 67 grams of sugar per day increased their risk of suffering from depression or anxiety by 23% over a period of five years.
Try The Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean diet has been shown to offer a variety of mood-boosting benefits. This diet involves eating plenty of healthy fats, which can be found in foods like fatty fish, avocados, and olive oil. The Mediterranean diet also encourages eating plenty of leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale. And, it’s also important to limit your intake of sweets and alcoholic drinks while following the Mediterranean diet.
Many of the foods that are commonly enjoyed by those who follow the Mediterranean diet have been linked to improvements in mood. Healthy fats are often an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids which are crucial nutrients for a healthy brain. And, leafy green vegetables can be a great source of the B vitamin folate, which helps to regulate serotonin, a hormone that plays a key role in regulating our emotions. Deficiencies in this nutrient have been linked to increased rates of depression.
Add More Omega-3 Fatty Acids to Your Diet
Omega-3 fatty acids play a vital role in brain health, so, it’s not surprising that deficiencies in omega-3 fatty acids have been linked to mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and memory loss. Omega-3 fatty acids are most commonly found in fatty fish and seafood, but other great sources of this nutrient include:
Eating foods that contain magnesium is essential for your physical and mental health. This nutrient plays a key role in the production of serotonin, and low levels of magnesium can lead to fatigue, bad moods, and increased stress levels. Low magnesium levels have also been linked to depression. You can add more magnesium to your diet by eating foods like:
The connection between food and mental health is one that should never be ignored. That’s why it’s important to fuel your body with foods that offer plenty of beneficial nutrients to maintain your physical and mental health. Eating more healthy foods like avocados, leafy green vegetables, and nutritious fruits can help you live a happier and healthier life in more ways than one!
Kendria Patterson is a freelance health and wellness writer and digital marketer. She has a passion for writing content that inspires others to live happier, healthier lives. Some of her favorite topics include nutrition, fitness, mindfulness, and self-care. Learn more about her online at www.kendriawrites.com.
As we reluctantly say goodbye to the apples of fall harvest Mother Nature’s harmony ensures new lovely choices for our seasonal wellness.
Next week we have for you California’s current seasonal star: The Naval Orange. Your Naval oranges are coming from Twin Girls farm near Fresno. The farm is named after the red-haired twin daughters of the farm’s owners: Nacho and Casamira. I love that the fruit they can’t sell is used to fertilize their fields for the next harvest. Thus, returning their love and care back to our life giving earth.
Other California citrus are having a strong harvest right now too. These include kiwi, minneolas, Meyer lemons, Fremont mandarins, and huge (the biggest I can find) Star Ruby grapefruits from Rainbow Valley Orchards.
Did you know: that Cara Cara oranges are a hybrid of two different varieties of Naval orange? Cara Cara’s are my favorite orange because they are generally sweeter than Navals.
Also for next week we have California blueberries which taste as divine as any other time of the year. They come to you from Forbidden Fruit orchard near San Louis Obispo.
Your Bartlett pears for next week will are coming from Cascade Orchard just in time for your order. Keep in mind that pear varieties are limited from now until the end of the season. Which isn’t too far away.
To add some variety to our overwhelmingly abundant local citrus season we have limited fair trade avocados and bananas both from Mexico. Variety, as they say, is the spice of life.
As the season changed from fall our local growing region is blessed with needed winter rains. These rains replenish resevoirs and cover the Sierra’s with snow. In the spring this snow-melt will rejuvaniate the central valley soil and, with it, the fruits and vegetables we love so much from our local farms.
In the meantime, cold, heavy rains, limit the availability of some vegetables. Most abundant, however, are the root vegetables. Protected by the nutrient-giving soil they continue to grow despite occasional freezes. For you, next week Golden Gate Organics offers local: rutabaga, parsnips, bunched red beets, carrots, and red potatoes.
A good night’s sleep is the key to feeling refreshed, having a clear mind, being productive and generally feeling better. We tend to feel lucky when waking up rested, because, unfortunately, it doesn’t happen very often. It is the modern persons’s normality to sleep whenever they can squeeze a nap into their schedule, wake up early for different activities and stay up late, relaxing in front of a screen or going out to exciting places.
Sleep is not exactly something we prioritize. However, study after study shows that sleep deprivation is the underlying cause of numerous health issues as well as poor cognitive performance. It is imperative that you start practicing good sleep hygiene before it damages your health and brain’s performance.
Here are some natural ways that can aid in establishing a regular, healthy sleep rhythm. You should adapt these suggestions to your lifestyle and decide how you’re going to implement them in your routine. But, taking action is paramount if you want your body to truly recover and support the great things you are aiming for in your awake state.
Going to Bed and Waking up at the Same Hour, Every Day
Something probably all of us are guilty of is lingering a little bit longer in bed during the weekend. Especially after going out the night before, we consider sleeping in a well-deserved reward after a busy week at work.
But, if you want to implement a healthy sleep schedule, then this habit needs to disappear. And, as sad as it may seem at the beginning, waking up early on Saturdays and Sundays will prove to be worth it. Not only because of all the extra pampering and fun you can do in your free time, but also because you will feel rested for the rest of the day.
Exercise as Much as You Can, but Be Careful When You Do It
According to studies, exercise is a natural remedy for sleeping problems, such as insomnia. Sedentary people have to deal with numerous health issues derived from their lack of activity, and sleep is one of the body’s primary functions that suffer.
Be careful, though. While exercise is linked to good sleep, scheduling your workout too close to your sleeping time or making it too intense, then you might worsen your insomnia.
Get a Separate Bed for Your Pet, No Matter How Cuddly They Are
Sleeping with your pets or with your children can seriously affect the quality of your sleep, as a Mayo clinic study demonstrated. Unless co-sleeping is helping your baby during infancy, it is time to claim your space back and gradually get them used to sleeping in their beds. Similarly, cuddly pets are to be sent to their mattresses and beds and not share your sleeping space.
Buy a Quality Mattress
We always blame our schedules or the influence of late night screen time for our sleeping problems. But, more often than not, a very simple factor that is right under our nose (well, our whole bodies) could be the culprit: the mattress.
Sleeping on a mattress that is too soft or too hard, or that does not let your skin breathe enough and makes you sweaty all the time can seriously affect your sleep. Choose mattresses that support your spine and are made of natural materials to get the best possible sleep.
Choose Your Bed Sheets Carefully
Similarly to the problem mentioned above, your bed sheets can affect the quality of your sleep if they are causing rashes and other allergic reactions or if they don’t help your body regulate its temperature. Again, the best choices for your bed sheets are natural materials, such as linen, silk or cotton. Linen, for example, seems to be the most popular choice nowadays due to its sustainability and hypoallergenic properties, breathability, and gorgeous look.
Eat Well, and Your Sleep Will Get Better
You are probably getting a bit bored with the same advice you hear every time: eat well, exercise, sleep well. We hate to break it to you, but it is the best way to preserve your health and help your body fight illness, stress, and aging as best as it can. A varied and balanced diet does not have many rules, but you should make an effort and stick to it every day, week, and year.
If you want to turn a healthy diet into an easy to follow habit, then you should try to get creative in the kitchen. There are so many meal plans, recipes, and apps that can help you monitor your diet that you will surely find something that fits your tastes and body characteristics.
Put the Screens Aside before Bed
There is a big chance that you are reading this very article on your smartphone or tablet while laying on your bed at night, wondering why your sleep is so bad. Checking your phone at night or spending time in front of the TV right before falling asleep will disrupt your brain’s activity, making your sleep inefficient and leaving you tired in the morning.
Blue light from our gadgets affect our sleep, so it is best to put them aside for at least an hour before bed and grab a book instead. The very least you can do to help your circadian rhythms is to use an app that modifies the light intensity and color of your screen, as your bedtime gets closer.
Quit Smoking. Now!
Studies show that smokers are four times more likely to feel more unrested after sleep than non-smokers do. Smoking increases your stress hormones levels, affects your breathing and increases the chance of sleep apnea and other problems. Quitting smoking will have a dramatic positive effect on your entire health and quality of life, including sleep, so consider a program that is likely to help you most.
Turn Down the Thermostat
Getting all toasty might seem pleasant at night, especially during the cold seasons, but heating the room will make you sleep worse. The general rule for both adults and children is to have a lower temperature in the sleeping room than the rest of the house.
You will immediately feel the difference in the quality of sleep if you set your temperature to around 65 degrees Fahrenheit. If you feel chilly, adjust your sleepwear until you adapt to the new temperature. Also, don’t forget to ventilate the room properly and keep the air humidity level in check (at 50-70%).
All these rules above may seem overwhelming at first, especially if you are stressed, and you lack time to make dramatic changes in your routine. Take it one step at a time and start with the steps that best fit you as an individual.
If problems persist, you might need to schedule an appointment with a doctor who is specialized in the science of sleep. But, no matter what, prioritizing sleep will show results in all other areas of your well being. Good luck!
A great addition to any School Wellness Program is a guest speaker. A guest speaker is a fun, engaging way to expose children to different varieties of fruits and vegetables and also where that food comes from.
Teaching kids about healthy eating habits can include getting them more involved in choosing, preparing and maybe even growing their own fruit and vegetables. Children are more likely to choose familiar foods over unfamiliar ones. It’s important to expose them to a variety of healthy options every day!
Everyone agrees that children who have healthy habits like eating well-balanced meals and getting proper sleep and exercise perform better in school. They are more alert and better able to focus. Schools that focus on kids’ health and wellness by implementing school wellness programs see improved test scores and decreased absences.
An excited preschooler holding a Ruby grapefruit for the first time.
How can a Guest Speaker supplement a school wellness program?
A guest speaker is a great supplement to any school wellness program. Speaking engagements are tailored to every school grade from preschool to high school. For example, preschool, kindergarten, and other students can touch, see, smell, and hear the difference between dozens of fresh organic fruits and vegetables brought to their assembly. All children love to hold and share the samples of their favorite produce. It is also an excellent opportunity to learn about new fruits and veggies their parents may not often cook with!
For middle school students beginning to learn the difference between organic and conventional produce is exciting! This can also tie back into an existing garden at home or school. Learning that fruits and veggies need to be part of a daily diet for good health is also essential. Older children can benefit from learning about why choosing organic produce is so important.
What are some ways to get kids more involved in their food choices?
Expose them to a variety of foods. This is what happens during one of our presentations! Kids are exposed to a wide variety of fresh organic fruits and vegetables, by having them available in the cafeteria or helping to prepare meals at home, kids are more likely to try new healthy foods when they are available. Consistency counts too! It takes on average 10-15 tries for a kid to develop a taste for a new food.
Schools gardens. Spending time in the garden encourages kids to plant, grow and harvest their own fruit and vegetables.
Show them where their food is grown. This can be through farm visits or guest speakers. Seeing produce in its natural form rather than already cut up and prepared is a fun learning experience and teaches about the impact farming methods have on the environment as well.
Cooking classes or cooking clubs. A fun way for kids to “play” with their food and learn how to prepare snacks and simple meals.
If you want more information about having a presenter come to your Bay Area school to talk about fruits, vegetables, organic farming, and healthy eating please call Golden Gate Organics at 510-698-9446 or email email@example.com.
Many people in the California Bay Area receive CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) produce boxes delivered to their homes. But did you know that many more people also get CSA deliveries via Co-Op drop sites at their work, school, and other community organizations? There are a ton of great reasons to choose this option over a home CSA delivery.
Today we will discuss the basics about a CSA Co-Op drop site. This includes what to consider when deciding to establish your own program, how to start a CSA Co-Op drop site at your organization, and the benefits that come with hosting your own CSA Co-Op drop site program.
The Basics About Starting An Organic CSA Co-Op Drop Site
What Exactly is a CSA Co-Op Drop Site?
A CSA Co-Op Drop Site is when a community of people organize to receive a group delivery of local organic produce from small organic farmers at their organization.
There Are Two Types of CSA Co-Op Drop Sites
CSA Co-Op Drop Site deliveries come in two modes and are determined by the goals of your group. These two types are fundraising Co-Ops or discount Co-Ops.
A fundraising CSA Co-Op is great for non-profit organizations like schools, community centers, or churches. With this type of Co-op your organization can raise funds towards a fundraiser of your choice. Some common examples of fundraisers your CSA Co-Op can support are sports teams, student councils, charities, or for someone in need.
Participants usually pay regular price for their CSA delivery and a percentage of those sales are then donated back on a monthly basis. If you are a school then parents of students should be encouraged to receive their deliveries at the school too. This helps increase the fundraising. For more fun you can even have different teams within the fundraising CSA Co-Op that can compete to see who can raise the most money.
On the other hand, a discount Co-Op is usually what a business elects to host. These are also the most popular type of CSA Co-Op drop sites. This is because businesses often intend their CSA Co-Op drop site as a free and low maintenance part of their greaterwellness benefitspackage for their employees. In this case, employees receive a discount on seasonally local organic produce. This is in addition to the many other benefits listed below.
The type of CSA Co-Op drop site is determined when you start the Co-Op. However, you may be able to switch back and forth as your goals evolve. For example, if you have a discount Co-Op for your business and one of your employees falls on hard times. Then you could temporarily convert your discount Co-Op to a fundraiser to raise funds to help out your colleague.
Which CSA Co-Op drop site you choose will depend on the goals of your organization. A CSA Co-Op provider like Golden Gate Organics will be able to work with you to help determine your goals and ensure you are set up to help your organization achieve its goals.
Determining Your CSA Co-Op Drop Site Privacy Settings
Your privacy and security should always be a priority for any CSA Co-Op provider you work with. If you need a private Co-Op and that option isn’t available then steer clear! Always ensure you have the option to make your CSA Co-Op private to ensure the safety of your organization and its members. Most CSA Co-Op drop sites have two options for you to choose from: public or private.
Private CSA Co-Op Drop Site
Most CSA Co-Op drop sites are Private. This is especially important for organizations, like schools, or laboratories where security and safety are paramount. When you set up your CSA Co-Op drop site you will be asked if you want your drop site public or private.
Public CSA Co-Op Drop Site
A public CSA Co-Op drop site is great for a business or local community group who wants to build awareness of their brand or simply wants to expand their community. For example, a hardware store or dentist office may setup a public CSA Co-Op to bring people to their store more often. On the other hand, a church group may also have a public CSA Co-Op drop site to help build awareness and promote their mission of inclusion. Either way, there are many options for you to consider to best meet your goals!
General Requirements For Hosting A CSA Co-Op Drop Site
No matter if your Co-Op is public or private, a fundraiser or discount, all CSA Co-Op drop sites will need the following structure in place to be successful. A successful CSA provider, like Golden Gate Organics, will be able to assist the onsite coordinator with setting all of this up.
An Onsite Coordinator
All Co-Ops need to have an onsite person to act as a coordinator and designated point of contact. This can be anyone at your organization and is usually an office manager. A replacement should be able to be designated at any time if your organization requires. Make sure to ask your CSA provider about this when setting up your CSA Co-Op drop site program. If your organization will be closed for a holiday, summer break, or any other reason, then your CSA provider will need to be notified by your site coordinator. Also, if your CSA Co-Op is a fundraiser then your CSA provider will need to know who to send your funds to each month. Onsite coordinators sometimes get additional surprises too!
Plan For Non-Pickups
You will need a plan for when a box isn’t picked up. Most successful programs have an end of day pick up policy. In these cases, the onsite coordinator will donate the box if not picked up. Alternatively, the onsite coordinator may call the person and organize a pick up with them.
A Drop-off Area
You will need a designated drop-off area. This can be a lobby, waiting area, shipping and receiving department, or other convenient location. It is important that this area is easily accessible to your employees without being too obvious to the public. Moreover, any insurance requirements and security access will need to be worked out ahead of time. Your CSA Co-Op provider should be able to effortlessly guide you through this process.
Get The Word Out!
Your organization will need a champion to disseminate information to new and existing employees. Successful organizations post fliers at the drop-off area with the onsite coordinator’s contact information, send out periodic newsletters with info about the program, and introduce new hires to the program.
Benefits of A CSA Co-Op Drop Site
From discounts on your healthy eating lifestyle to supporting local farmers and the environment, starting a CSA co-op drop site has some great benefits for all involved! Below are the benefits of the Golden Gate Organics CSA Co-Op drop site program. However, many other CSA Co-Ops should have similar benefits for you to enjoy! For more information on the benefits of joining CSA’s in general click here.
When you start a discount Co-Op you get a discount on your weekly produce. Some CSA providers, like Golden Gate Organics, work with small organic farms and offer 50% off the first box for people joining your Co-Op plus 10% off regular prices for each subsequent box. Contact your local Bay Area CSA Co-Op provider to see what cost savings they can offer your organization.
Earn Free Fruit For Your Office
If your Co-Op achieves a pre-established goal of participation then your office can earn free rewards. Ask your Co-Op program provider how to earn free office fruit deliveries or discounted office fruit deliveries as part of your business wellness services. To learn more about the benefits of having organic fruit in your office Click Here.
Support Local Organic Farms and Fight Climate Change
This may be perhaps the most important reason to to join a CSA Co-Op. When our hybrid delivery vehicle can drop off 40 boxes of organic produce to one organization that means 40 cars are staying off the road and producing much less carbon emissions! Additionally, all Co-Op members receive local organic produce grown without synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. This results in less soil runoff, less toxic algae blooms, and helps strength and support your local foodshed. But there are even more reasons to eat local.
Live a Healthy Lifestyle
When you are trying to live a healthy lifestyle, eating locally sourced organic produce is the biggest and most important step anyone can easily take. Fresh organic produce is packed with nutrients which your body needs on a daily basis. Also, while many local CSA’s are 100% organic, some are not. So make sure you ask! In the Bay Area, Golden Gate Organics only delivers 100% non-GMO organic produce that is as local as seasonally possible from small farms. They were even ranked the best CSA and box delivery service in the Bay Area among their ten best peers.
Customize Every Order To Get Just What You Want When You Want It
Everyone who is part of the Co-Op and receives a CSA box will be able to customize each order. This includes what produce you will receive in each order as well as your delivery date. It is super easy to add or skip deliveries ahead of time if you know you will be out of town. Consequently, everyone gets exactly what they want, when they want it. And with convenient email notifications, you will always know what is in your order ahead of time so there are no surprises.
The Highest Quality Produce and Convenience
When you receive seasonal organic produce at your own CSA Co-Op drop site program you will immediately notice the difference in quality when compared to any grocery store. Because CSA providers get their produce right from the farm their produce is much fresher when it gets to you. Likewise, many people like to keep fruit at work for healthy snacks between meals and take the rest home to share with their family. All of this is delivered, usually for free.
Have Questions or Ready to Set Up Your Own Program?
If you have any questions about CSA Co-Op drop sites send us a message on our contact form. Or, if you are located in the San Francisco Bay Area and are interested in setting up your own Co-Op drop site program please contact Golden Gate Organics by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or +1 (510) 698-9446 to start your 100% organic CSA co-op drop-site.