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Special needs residents help harvest vegetables for TERI Farms' CSA program.
Residents help harvest vegetables for TERI Farms' CSA program. Photo by TERI Inc.
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TERI Farms expands farmland, launches new public CSA program

In various areas of San Diego’s North County, TERI Farms has been growing certified organic fruits and vegetables for over a decade. TERI Farms has operated a weekly Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program that was created to keep their 71 residential special needs clients “fit for life.”

TERI Farms produces over 7,880 pounds yearly that go directly to their residential clients. Recently, they expanded their prime farmland at TERI Inc.’s Campus of Life in San Marcos, doubling their client-facing CSA program.

TERI Farms’ history of producing nutritious food for people with developmental disabilities and the correlating health-related outcomes inspired them to start a new public-facing CSA program from TERI Inc.’s Common Grounds Café at the Campus of Life.

The growth of the TERI Farms CSA program is essential to expanding access to not only their residential clients but also to those in the North County community. There are many reasons why people join a local CSA.

TERI Farms recently surveyed 1,400 Common Grounds Café Loyalty members about the new CSA program and received 71 responses. Ninety-four percent of respondents say they would join a CSA because they want to support local farmers and their families, with 77% wanting to keep their money in the local economy, and 65% believe the CSA could improve local ecosystems and conservation efforts, with 63% citing improved nutrition as a reason to join.

Special needs residents help harvest vegetables for TERI Farms' CSA program.
TERI Inc.’s residential clients help harvest produce. Photo by TERI Inc.

The survey participants also chimed in on value-added products and experiences the CSA could provide, with 67% requesting recipe ideas or cards, 65% saying they would like sauces, pesto, and salsa added to their choices, and almost 50% saying they would enjoy VIP Farm Dinners. The CSA survey respondents seemed to echo findings from a recent CSA study.

“CSA initiatives provide a more sustainable way of producing and consuming food for many people and communities; one that cares for the earth and people, and one that re-connects people and places,” a study found. 

Survey respondents also said what kind of fruits and vegetables they would like to see in their boxes, with lettuces being the most popular, followed closely by tomatoes and cucumbers and trailed by carrots, melons, and stone fruits. It sounds like the makings of a delicious salad for the menu of Common Grounds Café! The good news is that 87% of people said they want to learn more about joining the TERI Farms CSA!

It seems that joining a CSA has various benefits for all involved. Yet, joining the TERI Farms CSA is different because your money supports TERI’s core mission. One example is TERI Farms’ Agriculture Internship Program, which serves some clients with greater abilities and teaches them essential skills to improve their employment outcomes.

Interns can learn “soft” skills, including personal presentation and appropriately socializing with coworkers. Interns can learn “hard” skills, including timeliness, detail orientation, and task completion (Elkins, 1990).

Support of the TERI Farms CSA certainly means that customers will be a part of improving the local food system, but they will also join TERI Farms in changing how the world sees, empowers, and helps children and adults with developmental disabilities. To learn more, go to 

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