Monday, June 30, 2008

City CSAs Support Food Access and Community Action

The area surrounding the Jacob Riis Neighborhood Settlement House has only one grocery store, despite being home to Queensbridge Houses, the largest public housing development in the nation. In a neighborhood where fresh produce is very hard to find, the new Long Island City Community Supported Agriculture Project is offering residents not only a source for local produce, but also a chance to become directly involved in the fight for greater food access in their community.

The Community Supported Agriculture Project, or CSA, was created through the Craig Murphey Anti-Hunger Partnership: a collaboration between The New York City Coalition Against Hunger, the Hunger Action Network of New York State, Just Food, the East River Development Alliance, and the Farm at Miller’s Crossing. The goals of the project are twofold. The family-style CSA membership component allows Long Island City residents to purchase shares of fresh produce from a local farmer, which are then delivered and distributed weekly throughout the growing season. The Local Produce Link component supplies food pantries and soup kitchens receive an average of 180 pounds of farm fresh food each week paid for by New York State Hunger Prevention Nutrition Assistance Program (HPNAP) funding.

The CSA relies on a core group of program members who work towards the self-sustainability of the CSA while organizing community events like farm trips and member dinners. The program stresses direct member involvement in the distribution and organizing process, requiring all members to volunteer at least four hours per season. “It gives you a sense of feeling empowered, that you are part of the production line to some degree” said Bill Newlin, executive director of the Jacob Riis Community Settlement House, which serves as the distribution point for the Long Island City CSA. The establishment of the Long Island City CSA marks the second of three pilot CSAs which NYCCAH has co-sponsored. The West Harlem CSA is in its second season of distribution and there are plans for the creation of a third CSA to serve another low-income neighborhood in the 2009 growing season.


Anonymous said...

They certainly are keeping this program a secret from
Queensbridge residents.

Nothing mentioned at

They never had a rep mention it at Tenant Asscoiation meeting. Must be a scam with the operators getting paid big bucks to run this.

NYCCAH said...

NYCCAH and the other partners in the Long Island City CSA have been engaged in outreach in the surrounding neighborhood and encourage all interested residents to contact the Coalition directly if they wish to join the CSA. There are no "big bucks" being made with this initiative- far from it- and all partners affirm that this project cannot function without the direct participation and support of Long Island City's low-income community.