Divani Chocolate will host a drop-off space for Clarion River Organics this summer. Clarion River Organics was started in 2009 by a group of 10 organic produce farms in the Sligo/Callensburg area. The farmers, who are Amish, had been struggling for years to make the connection to people who want good, fresh, organic produce so they formed the CRO cooperative with Zeb Bartels and Nathan Holmes, who had been doing deliveries and sales calls for them the previous year. Their goal was to build a storage building for all to use and to utilize the help of Zeb and Nathan to find and reach the growing organic market.
The mission of Clarion River Organics is to “Provide certified organic foods striving for the highest in food quality and the lowest in environmental impact.” They distinguish themselves by their commitment to protecting plants from pests by developing healthy, living soils; by using only horse and human power rather than fuel-consuming vehicles for field work, and by marketing only products grown within the watershed of the Clarion River. They are inspired to get into the organic movement by Aaron Schwartz, the lead grower of the cooperative, who started growing organic produce in Canada in the mid-90’s. Schwartz uses a system of holistic soil management that tends to all the micro-nutrients as well as the living micro-organisms vital to soil health in order to produce abundant, healthy, high quality vegetables organically.
In 2011 Clarion River Organics decided to become a CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture program, which is a popular sort of program wherein customers pay a certain amount at the beginning of the season in exchange for a weekly delivery of a share of all the produce that has come in fresh that week. A CSA helps the farms by providing funds early in the season when they need to buy growing supplies, and it benefits customers by ensuring access to the best of what is fresh from the fields at a discounted price, as well as stabilizing their connection to the people who grow their food and the land it comes from.
By being a drop-off point for CRO in the AC Valley area, Divani Chocolate hopes to promote healthy eating among the community members while encouraging the support of local farms. “We feel Clarion River Organics is a wonderful organization that has been put together by the locals for the locals. By bringing their initiatives a step closer to you, our customers, we hope to serve you in one more way.”
If you have already purchased your shares from CRO, you can contact them and specify Divani Chocolate as the drop-off point for your weekly share. If you’re interested in buying a new share, please contact Carla at 814-771-7013. The share distribution begins the first week of June and ends the last week of October. You can purchase shares for fresh produce, meats, eggs and home-made breads. For more information about the CSA program, please check out CRO’s website ClarionRiverOrganics.com. For information about Divani Chocolate, check out their website at DivaniChocolate.com or Facebook.com/DivaniChocolate.
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