- Title: USA: New Yorkers eat locally with the help of farm delivery programs
- Date: 21st August 2010
- Summary: SASHA SCHULMAN, CO-FOUNDER AND CORE MEMBER OF THE STANTON STREET CSA SMELLING HER COFFEE SHARE (SOUNDBITE) (English) SASHA SCHULMAN, CO-FOUNDER AND CORE MEMBERS STANTON CSA SAYING: "Once you start learning about food and you start understanding what good food is, you don't want to get anything else. So I think it's very important to keep CSAs running and for my own kitchen -- I don't look to cook with anything else besides what I get here." ROXBURY FARM EMPLOYEE BRINGING OUT PRODUCE FROM FARM TRUCK FOR RENAISSANCE CSA IN HARLEM PRODUCE CARTON ROXBURY FARM EMPLOYEE ENTERING RENAISSANCE RESIDENTIAL BUILDING JOSEPH MCDONNELL RENAISSANCE CSA CO-FOUNDER AND MEMBER CARRYING OUT PEACHES FROM TRUCK SHARON LEE RITCHIE RENAISSANCE CSA CO-FOUNDER SORTING OUT WEEK'S CSA HALF SHARES WITH MCDONNELL RENAISSANCE CSA SIGN MCDONNELL SORTING BUNCH OF TURNIPS INTO HALF SHARES (SOUNDBITE) (English) JOSEPH MCDONNELL, CO-FOUNDER AND MEMBER OF THE RENAISSANCE CSA, SAYING: "In the beginning of the season, early June, I'm actually paying a little more because my take isn't that much. But now in August, I get so much for my money, it's overwhelming. So, once again it's sort of that sense of how it really works, it amortizes over the six month period for me." VARIOUS OF RITCHIE CHOPPING AND SORTING BELL PEPPERS FROM HER CSA PRODUCE SHARE CHOPPED BELL PEPPERS AND CUCUMBERS (SOUNDBITE) (English) SHARON LEE RITCHIE, CO-FOUNDER AND MEMBER OF THE RENAISSANCE CSA, SAYING: "The joy of it to have the explosions of the flavors -- this is what a tomato is really supposed to taste like, and you get away from that even if you buy the high end produce. And so that nostalgia for going back to my childhood when I got those vegetables from my grandfather's garden -- not only do I get the deliciousness of the vegetables every week but I have that extra connection to my childhood as well." RITCHIE SORTING OUT HER CSA PRODUCE SHARE
- Embargoed: 5th September 2010 13:00
- Location: Usa
- Country: USA
- Topics: Health
- Reuters ID: LVACZES8CP09XHKXT3SEQJ64WQ62
- Story Text: Going local (locavore) is the latest trend for New Yorkers seeking fresh vegetables. Juicy tomatoes, crunchy turnips and ripe peaches are all easier to access with Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs, an increasingly popular concept that links local farms directly with consumers.
CSA programs aren't new, but as New Yorkers strive to be more eco-friendly the model is finding many new customers.
The way it works is simple. A program consists of a group of individuals that establishes an agreement with a regional farm. Members become farm shareholders for a season, paying a flat fee upfront to the farm for a share of the produce, which is delivered weekly in the summer and fall months.
"Knowing where my food comes from, knowing who's planting it and growing it. Knowing that it's not made or produced with chemicals or pesticides - that's what's important to me. It's a community of people that come together and we all agree that our food should be fresh, local, seasonal," said Kelly Browne, a member of the downtown Stanton Street CSA.
The Stanton Street CSA is one of more than 100 CSAs currently operating in New York.
Paula Lukats, a program manager with Just Food, a non-profit organization that connects regional farms with communities in New York City, explained that there has been a significant increase in CSAs since the Big Apple's first, which was formed in 1991.
"We've really seen in the past three years a real rise in the interest and growth in the CSAs, so we are up to a hundred CSAs in our network this year in New York City which is a big leap from six. And in the past couple of years, we've started about 20 a year, which is a big increase each year. But we're really seeing a lot of demand and a lot of people who want to join," Lukats said.
On a recent Thursday, trucks unloaded a wide range of colorful veggies at the M'finda Kalunga Community Garden, where members of the Stanton Street CSA pick up their produce.
On any given week deliveries vary pending weather conditions and farm productivity. One week the 200 odd members might receive a lot of Swiss chard, but in the next they could get a bounty of sweet corn, radishes, dill and basil.
For Cynthisa Singiser and other Stanton Street CSA members receiving an abundance of a particular vegetable can be confusing. However, pick up days provide an opportunity to swap recipes and learn about foods they were previously unfamiliar with.
"The reason I buy local is because I don't like the idea of my food getting to me on a truck from a state as far away as Florida or California. So the more that I can buy locally knowing that it was picked that day and that I am consuming it that day makes it better for me, it's more enjoyable," Singiser said.
For most members it's also more affordable than shopping the organic aisle in grocery stores or going regularly to farmer's markets. A 23-week seasonal CSA share of mostly organic food can range from $400 - $550 (USD) and some CSAs provide subsidies for lower income families.
"In the beginning of the season -- early June, I'm actually paying a little more because my take isn't that much. But now in August, I get so much for my money, it's overwhelming. So, once again it's sort of that sense of how it really works, it amortizes over the six month period for me," said Joseph McDonnell, co-founder of The Renaissance CSA in Harlem.
Co-founders Sharon Lee Ritchie and McDonnell divide the produce into half-shares as needed and organize deliveries for the CSA members in their building. For Ritchie doing so is worthwhile because years ago she would not have had the option to eat so healthily on a regular basis. Now she is able to take in the aroma of farm fresh vegetables daily as well as take a trip down memory lane to the family garden of her childhood.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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