September 19, 2014
CSA program becomes so popular Blue Cross Blue Shield extends it into the fall
Employees wanted to try it but were hesitant. Some admitted they never ate fruits and vegetables. Others worried they would waste weekly produce because they didn’t know how to incorporate it into their life.
Nearly 75 employees at Blue Cross Blue Shield decided to sign up for the company’s first community supported agriculture program, or CSA. Through a partnership with local farmers and resources and support from Partners for a Healthy City, bags of vegetables arrived each week.
“Employees said, ‘It’s like Christmas every Thursday’. They were so excited to get their produce bags that they would immediately open them, read the newsletter and recipe cards, chat and swap vegetables with others – often before heading back to their desks,” said Lori Thomas, wellness coordinator at Blue Cross Blue Shield.
Kale and broccoli were used in smoothies. Rhubarbs were used in a sauce with cinnamon and nutmeg (palatable for kids) and pies (ok, not as healthy). Still, employees had fun, learned to eat more fruits and vegetables, researched and got creative with recipes.
Thomas said payroll deduction helped employees spread the cost of the CSA over the 15-week period. And the company’s cafeteria held a cooking demonstration to help employees incorporate the produce into their day.
The program became so popular that employees asked to continue it into the fall.
“It’s a great way for our employees and their families to incorporate healthy foods. It also was a morale booster. We noticed people were happier on Thursdays when the produce bags arrived,” said Thomas.