Helfferich started collecting CSA names in 2009 because she couldn’t find any resources containing that data. She has long been interested in local foods and served as a founding member of the Alaska Food Policy Council. She and her husband have been CSA members at Calypso Farm and Ecology Center in Ester since 2001.
“Back then there were only a couple of CSAs in the Interior,” Helfferich said. “Now every year there are more and more.”
|Google Map of Alaska CSAs|
The site is fluid, with Helfferich continuing to add, delete and edit the CSAs on the map. She welcomes information on CSAs not currently listed. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 907-474-6923.
The satisfaction from creating the map for Helfferich is that she gets to share valuable information in a fun and free manner. She hopes that she is helping connect Alaskans to farmers in their communities. “It’s about people working together to supply each other with food. That’s the important thing.”
Belonging to a CSA brings consumers to the realization that there are people behind the food, she said. “You form a connection. It isn’t just an item wrapped in plastic.”
As for the future of the map, Helfferich plans to keep tending it, and she is looking into upgrading to a newer version of Google Maps to add functionality.
She dreams of the day the placemarks on the map aren’t just clustered on the road system, but are scattered around the vast land that is Alaska. “Look, there’s nothing in Nome and there’s nothing north of the Brooks Range,” she said. “Maybe people will see where the gaps are, find a niche and open a new CSA.”