Urbana, Ill. (WCIA)
Sola Gratia Farm is a 16 acre non-profit vegetable farm right in the city of Urbana. We have been in operation for 10 years and last year donated over 16,000 lbs of produce to the Eastern Illinois Food Bank, Jubilee Cafe and other food access programs in our community.
In addition to our food donations, we sell produce at the Urbana and Champaign farmers market, including the indoor farmers market going on right now at Lincoln Square Mall. We also have open sign ups for our Community Supported Agriculture program for the coming growing season. This program allows members to purchase a share ahead of the season and get a share of the crops we harvest each week during the main growing season.
Our organization helps get fresh produce to those with limited food dollars through a myriad of programs and working with other community organizations. Often times when people have limited time or food dollars, they purchase cheap and fast food and often purchase less fresh vegetables since they are perishable, often are seen as more expensive and can take more time to prepare. I am very fortunate to work for Sola Gratia in helping us meet our donation goal, but to also bring great food to our community farmers markets.
At this point in the season we get lots of questions surrounding our Community Supported Agriculture program. This include why is supporting a farm through this system is important for small scale farms, what can a member expect to get each week in their share, and how does a CSA program bring you closer to where your food is grown.
Being a non-profit vegetable farm we are driven by our mission to donate at least 10 percent of the food we grow each year and often donate between 20 and 30 percent. This past year we donated over 21% of our produce which totaled 16,417 lbs.
In addition, farming right along Philo Road we often get to informally showcase the work it takes it produce food for our community. This has been a great opportunity to talk to community members who may have never seen what a kale plant looks like or show the level of work it takes to produce the food that ends up on their dinner table.
Currently we are at the indoor winter farmers market at Lincoln Square Mall on the first and third Saturdays each month until the outdoor markets start in May. We will have a variety of root crops such as carrots, beets, potatoes and radishes as well as a variety of fresh greens harvested from our high tunnel.
Additionally we are currently have open CSA shares available. Community Supported Agriculture or CSA is a program where people can purchase a share before the season and in return they can pick up produce each week from us on the farm on Thursday or at the Champaign Farmers market on Tuesday. This program helps us support the initial costs of seeds and other inputs as well as pay for staff early in the season before produce is ready to sell at the farmers markets. People interested can go to our website to learn more or come see us at the farmers market to talk about the program.
Sola Gratia Farm
2200 S Philo Rd
Urbana, IL 61802