Cal Poly ending produce box program

Cal Poly’s Community Supported Agriculture project that provides boxes of produce to community members for a fee will end this month, according to a letter sent out this week by Horticulture and Crop Science Department leaders.

The letter sent to subscribers of the produce program states the project is being canceled after a “thorough analysis of the benefits, educational opportunities provided, and costs associated with the CSA project.”

“The Cal Poly Organic Farm CSA program is scheduled to conclude on August 30,” the letter states. “However, our organic farm food production will continue and shortly afterwards you will be able to purchase the organic farms products through other avenues.”

Professor and Organic Farm Director David Headrick and Department Head John Peterson signed the letter, which states the change will allow for smaller amounts of vegetables to be grown but add flexibility to grow experimental crops and allow more student projects.

Farm manager Cindy Douglas said that she wasn’t part of the discussion to end the program and that she’s being laid off. Douglas opposes the closure, which she said has offered gardening opportunities to a wide range of students.

“Our mission has been for students to come and work on an on-campus farm and to really learn by doing,” Douglas said. “And we’ve really thrown our doors open for anyone to participate. I just hope the new direction doesn’t limit students’ opportunities.”

The program has been supported by about 170 community subscribers; the farm typically attracts about 50 students per week to volunteer, work or take a class at the farm, Douglas said.

--Nick Wilson