First Auction of the 2021 Season

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As a first-timer entering the world of the Chesterhill Produce Auction, I was surprised by how welcoming and bustling the auction was. Since it was the first auction of the season, in the middle of a pandemic, it was shocking to have such a good turnout. I was also nervous about attending as I was concerned about being in a large crowd. Despite my concern, attendees were friendly and tried to adhere to social distancing ...

Meet Our Intern Hannah!

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Hi, my name is Hannah Bernstein. I am a senior at Athens High School and a new intern for Rural Action’s Sustainable Agriculture program. I have been involved with Rural Action for four years, starting as a counselor for the Sunday Creek Watershed Camp under Joe Brehm and the Environmental Education Team. I am also one of the leaders of the Athens High School Youth Climate Action Team (AHS YCAT). Pre-pandemic, AHS YCAT led environmental ...

A Look at 2020’s Numbers

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After auction season ends, we start crunching the numbers. Our community of growers and supporters want to know – How did we do this year compared to last? What were the top selling items? How many new buyers and sellers did we gain? As a social enterprise, we are most concerned with how well we served our farmers and food access in the region. This year we were particularly concerned with how the pandemic affected ...

Eating Ugly

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We have a massive food waste problem in this country. A whopping 40% of our food supply is wasted every year. Food gets thrown into the trash at all points in the food chain: before it reaches the grocery store, after sitting on grocery shelves for too long, and once it has rotted in our fridges. According to a study about food waste in 2020, the average American family of four throws out $1,600 a ...

Pandemic Pivot: Expanding Buying Club

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It’s almost unbelievable to think that it has been nine months since the COVID pandemic was declared and our lives drastically changed. I distinctly remember the moment when our team realized we would have to cancel our first auction of the year, back in March. That moment was followed by many hours of planning and discussing how we could operate the produce auction throughout the pandemic, with our community’s safety as a top priority. We ...

Food Deserts in Farm Country

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During the course of a growing season, over 300,000 pounds of produce comes into the Chesterhill Produce Auction in the hands of local growers and leaves in the hands of consumers. These direct transactions appear simple. Ten half pecks of bleeding heart tomatoes get unloaded from a buggy or truck bed, auctioned off to the highest bidder, and loaded back into a vehicle to go home and become soup, sauce, or canned tomatoes. But the ...

Holiday Bundle Sale Success

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After having to cancel our annual Holiday Auction due to the escalation of coronavirus cases in the region, our team had to get creative. We quickly pivoted to a Holiday Bundle Sale, offering our customers the opportunity to continue supporting local producers by purchasing bundles of locally-crafted goods and delicious treats. The bundles came in three sizes and included a selection of products from Integration Acres, Shagbark Seed & Mill, and local bakers and craftspeople ...

2020 Season Review

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Thank you. We could not have made it through this season without the support of our community. Despite the challenges of operating during a pandemic, the Chesterhill Produce Auction saw thousands of pounds of food come into the auction house and out to consumers. We were able to adapt quickly and operate under safe protocols, canceling only two auctions. This year, our large Buying Club was a critical component to a successful season. We distributed ...

Produce Poetry: Tomato

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We see a LOT of tomatoes come through the auction this time of year. Tomatoes are actually our top-selling produce item of the year. Many customers have been busy turning them into salsa and sauces. It has been heartening to see more people turning to canning and preserving food this year due to the pandemic. Though it can be frustrating when every store is sold out of lids! I wrote this short meditation on the ...

Sage & Mason – Setting Sights on New Vistas

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Autumn means the beginning of a new term for our AmeriCorps members. This year, that means the exciting addition of two new AmeriCorps VISTA members: Sage and Mason. We are eager to bring them onto the team and to see what good work they’ll accomplish to improve the production, distribution, and accessibility of sustainable food in the region. Read on to meet Sage and Mason in their own words. And make sure to give them ...