INNOVATIVE FOOD PROJECTS - In 1993, five neighbors in Highbridge, south Bronx decided they had to take action. A large vacant lot in their community was used as an illegal dumping ground and a center for drug activity. Day by day, the group cleared a small section of the lot only to find garbage in that same spot the next day. Eventually, they put up a fence and planted a garden.

Today, the vacant lot has evolved into Taqwa Community Farm, where over 90 people are involved in cultivating their garden beds and growing food to feed themselves, their families, and the community. Taqwa is an oasis of green that serves as a true community center offering open green space, a safe haven, a site for social gatherings, and a wealth of food, educational opportunities and inspiration to the adults, seniors, and youth of the neighborhood. Not only does the land provide wholesome food to community residents, Taqwa has started a program to train youth in growing and selling food at the Taqwa farm stand. Projects such as the Taqwa Community Farm are a source of inspiration as they are fighting hunger while promoting community and economic development at the same time. This manual, Growing a Healthy New York, features programs that have all taken a different and innovative approach to ending hunger and promoting food justice in their community through economic development, providing job training to youth while increasing access to fresh food, increasing participation in federal nutrition programs, improving nutrition, and uniting people with local farmers. Growing a Healthy New York details 24 different programs from across New York State, including how community leaders and organizations started the programs and how they currently operate. Growing a Healthy New York provides many great ideas about projects that can be duplicated in your own community and it also connects you to informational resources to get you started. This manual is perfect for community based groups, faith groups, food programs, and community leaders who are working to end hunger and support their community. It is also helpful for farmers who are interested in developing new markets in different communities, including lower-income areas.

There is a great need in New York to approach hunger in a more holistic way through projects that unite community members, community groups, and farmers. Over the last century, there have been many changes in how our food comes to us. America's food system has transformed from one where 50% of Americans lived on farms or in small rural communities where they fed themselves from locally grown foods to 80% of us living in or adjacent to cities. Food production is increasingly in the hands of large agricultural businesses, centralized and
corporate structures, that are disconnected from and rarely responsive to local community needs. Farmers receive only about 11 cents on the dollar that consumers pay in supermarkets. Most of the food dollar is going into marketing, packaging, and distribution - food in the United States travels an average of 1400 miles and changes hands a half a dozen times before it is consumed.

It's easy to start your own charity. An exciting, kind of WILD concept like this one -- is all that's needed. You write the SECRETARY OF STATE, in your state capital, they give you the papers to fill out, then you can FUND RAISE, GIVE PARTIES. Use revenues for doing good, PLUS salary yourself. Yes, you're entitled to take a salary for running a charity! You can give raves, parties, swap meets, anything you want to raise CASH!  You can DO GUERILLA GARDENING, with a GANG. You can send volunteers with tin cans and a photo or pamphlet. Rich people leave their money to you in their will. CHARITY is a career!

At the same time, you do immense good as there is an epidemic of hunger in the richest nation in the world. In your state there are poor people eating out of trash cans, whole families. A tenth of all New Yorkers are at risk of hunger (USDA) and about 1 in 5 children live in poverty (U.S. Census Bureau). Today, there are nearly 3,000 community based soup kitchens and food pantries (Emergency Food Programs) serving food to over 900,000 people each week but really poor folks have no cars, can't afford bus, can't walk or drive or hithchike far enough to reach help. In New York City alone, the number of Emergency Food Programs has grown from about 30 identified in 1980 to over 1,000 today. Too many New Yorkers are forced to choose between food and other basic needs because they lack good jobs, adequate wages, childcare, or quality healthcare. New York has lost more than 300,000 net new jobs since 2001. More than 3 million New Yorkers lack health insurance. It is no wonder that the number of families relying on emergency food resources is increasing. Hunger Action Network's 2003 survey of food programs found a 20% increase in demand for food comparing 2002 and 2003. CURRENT stats are even worse. While there are many New Yorkers in need, there are already several projects in New York where people are making new connections to address those needs. There are community gardens sprouting up in vacant lots providing local opportunities for youth and seniors to connect with the tradition of growing food, farmers distributing their produce through weekly boxes of fresh food at local churches, farmers' markets that are accepting Food Stamps again, and community dinners that serve locally grown foods and teach people how to cook health- fully. We have the potential to address hunger, support our farmers, our kids, our local econo-
my, and improve our communities' health. This manual features some successful options and will hopefully inspire you to work with say a skid row mission or preacher/ church and a chumcluster of your friends, relatives,  to make healthy locally grown food more available in your community. You do it and you'll be swimming in good publicity. You'll be FAMOUS! SAINT YOU!

Growing a Healthy New York is primarily comprised of 24 program descriptions, which are
divided into nine sections: Community Food Projects, Community Food Security, Community
Supported Agriculture, Community Gardening, Ending Hunger through Economic
Development, Hunger Mapping and Community Food Assessments, Improving New Yorkers'
Nutrition, Federal Nutrition Program Outreach Campaigns, and Food Recovery. Many
programs fit into more than one category, but it is divided this way for the convenience of the
reader. Each of the nine sections contains an overview and explanation of the categories for
those who may not be familiar with programs such as Community Supported Agriculture or
hunger mapping. In addition, we have included a resource section at the end of the manual
with nine sections that correspond to the nine program sections. For example, there are many
resources available to help folks start community gardens, etc.

We encourage folks to contact programs that interest them to find out more about how they
operate. The projects are driven by passionate individuals who have been generous about
sharing their experience and expertise with us and others across the state. Groups can also
contact Hunger Action Network or SENSES for assistance to start such a project.
Growing a Healthy New York - 2004

Hunger Action Network of New York State (HANNYS) and the Statewide Emergency
Network for Social and Economic Security (SENSES) sincerely thank the programs
highlighted in this manual for their contributions, dedication, and passion for ending hunger
and promoting food justice. •

In order to address hunger and strengthen communities, many groups have initiated projects
that extend beyond the scope of providing people with emergency food through a soup kitchen
or a food pantry. Often times, the projects are initiated by Emergency Food Providers, faith
groups, or community based groups in an effort to implement a more holistic approach to
ending hunger. The Seed and Seedling Distribution Program, for example, provides an
opportunity for low-income people to grow their own food through the distribution of seeds
and basic plant care instructions. The Grow an Extra Row Campaign taps into the potential of
gardeners and citizens and encourages them to grow an extra row of fruits or vegetables for
donation to Emergency Food Programs or other community agencies. Food Buying Clubs
bring together several people in one community and cut down food costs by cooperatively
purchasing food.
We hope you will be inspired to duplicate some of these projects and start growing toward a
greater harvest for your community.

Food $EN$E, a project of the Food Bank of Central New York, is a food buying club. Food
buying clubs are programs that operate by bringing together several people in one
community and cooperatively purchasing food. The large volume of the purchase allows the
cooperative to enjoy wholesale prices and the cost savings are passed along to the consumer.
The Food $en$e program is designed to increase self-sufficiency by helping individuals stretch
their food dollars.

The Food Bank organizes this program with 42 sites in a 16 county area providing an average
of 1,500 packages each month for families and individuals. In order to be a Food $en$e site,
you must be affiliated with a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt agency. For example, there are currently
Food $en$e sites that are located in churches, local fire departments, and community centers.
Monthly Food $en$e packages and promotional materials are created by the Food Bank. A
newsletter is developed and distributed to each site coordinator. This monthly newsletter
provides coordinators with a list of the items included in the current month's Food $en$e
package, the projected package for the following month, and recipes using food items from the
unit. Site coordinators are responsible for taking orders from customers, placing the order with
the Food Bank and distributing the packages on a specific date. There are no income
restrictions - anyone can participate. The cost of the package is $15.50 per month; participants
pre-pay with cash or an EBT card and pick up their Food $en$e packages at the end of the
month. A food unit contains 10-12 items, including fresh fruits and vegetables, meats and
staple food items. For example, the September 2004 package included: flour tortillas,
shredded Jack Cheese, Pinto beans, salsa, ground turkey, apples, fajita vegetable mix, baby
carrots, bagged lettuce salad, fresh eggs, hot dogs, and ham steaks.

Low-Income Involvement in the Organization of the Program
The Food $en$e Program could not run without the assistance of site coordinators. Site
coordinators distribute the packages monthly and collect money to be sent to the Food Bank.

Barriers Encountered and Solutions
Transition to the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) system was difficult for some site
coordinators. Because food stamp coupons were replaced with EBT cards in 2000, Food
$en$e sites now have to utilize a voucher system to accept food stamps. This is because Food
$en$e sites do not have the point of sale devices that are needed to process the EBT cards. The
voucher system can be difficult to use. To address this problem, the Food Bank of Central
New York has provided training and assistance so that coordinators could learn how to use the
voucher system accurately and efficiently.

Funding Sources
The cost of the food package paid by participants covers the cost of buying the necessary food
items from vendors. It is a self-sustained program. There are no outside funds involved.

E-mail address:

"What am I going to do with all this zucchini?" For some vegetable gardeners, this is the
million-dollar question come late summer. Others ask the same question in reference to
anything from tomatoes to green beans to rhubarb. With nearly 1 million New Yorkers
visiting food pantries and soup kitchens each week, we have a simple answer for gardeners
with abundance: Bring them to Emergency Food Programs! In fact, we'd like gardeners to
grow specifically for their neighbors in need!
In 2003, the Food Bank of the Southern Tier initiated a Plant-a-Row for the Hungry (PAR)
Campaign in south-central New York State. Organized PAR campaigns throughout the United
States have collected millions of pounds of fresh produce for hungry Americans since their
beginnings in the 1990's. PAR in the Southern Tier used free materials produced by the Garden
Writers Association of America (GWAA) to help promote the program, including small row
markers that were given out to gardeners, donor receipts, and a large sign used to advertise the
Food Bank Garden. GWAA also provided the Food Bank with resources on how to engage the
local community and media in PAR efforts.
The nutritionist at the Food Bank of the Southern Tier coordinated the PAR campaign with
assistance from food pantries in two counties. At two food pantry coalition meetings, the
nutritionist presented the PAR idea and asked for pantries to act as produce drop-off sites.
Twenty pantries agreed to be part of the program, and the Food Bank designed two PAR
brochures (one for each participating county) for distribution to local gardeners. Participating
pantries received these brochures to give to neighbors and community members, receipts to
provide gardeners interested in a tax credit, and a tally sheet to record the pounds of produce
they collected. Brochures were also given to Cornell Cooperative Extension, the Cornell
Master Gardeners Program, local nurseries, and farm markets. About 400 total brochures were
produced. PAR was also promoted in The Harvester, the Food Bank's quarterly donor
newsletter. By November 2003, gardeners had donated 4,243 pounds of produce to the Food
Bank and pantries. Another 2,000 pounds were harvested from the Food Bank garden, a 5,600
square foot patch tended by local volunteers.

For aspiring PAR campaigns, here are some helpful hints from the Southern Tier:
Start your campaign small!
Request PAR materials from the Garden Writers Association at 1-877-492-2727.
Utilize contacts with the media, Cornell Cooperative Extension, and businesses to get the
word out.
Publicize PAR throughout the season to remind gardeners.
Identify multiple drop-off sites with different hours of operation. Food pantries are
good bets.
Emphasize the importance of tracking pounds and developing a goal. This will help build
your campaign from one year to the next.
Additional Features
A Boy Scout has undertaken an Eagle Scout Project growing fruits and vegetables at his home
for distribution by the Food Bank. A local newspaper featured an article on the project and
included information for other gardeners to support PAR.
PAR in the Southern Tier has expanded in 2004 to include another county and five more food
pantries. The goal is to collect 10,000 pounds of fresh produce.
Low-Income Involvement in the
Organization of the Program
Low-income households visiting food pantries and soup kitchens are the recipients of PAR
Barriers Encountered and Solutions
If you plan on collecting information about the amount of food donated to programs, here are
two examples of barriers that the Food Bank of the Southern Tier had to overcome:
Not all food pantries had scales to weigh donated produce. To address this, the Food Bank
asked agencies to make educated guesses or have donors approximate weights.
Only 4 of 20 pantries collected produce from gardeners and returned information on the
number of pounds donated. For 2004, the Food Bank made the explanation of the program
and the paperwork easier to encourage reporting. The Food Bank has also been contacting
pantries throughout the growing season to check their progress.
Funding Sources
The Food Bank of the Southern Tier funds staff time and materials for this program. However,
funds are usually not needed to coordinate a PAR campaign, and many organizations have
done so successfully without any expenditure.
Contact Information:
Food Bank of the Southern Tier
Matthew Griffin, MS, Nutrition Resource Manager
945 County Route 64
Elmira, NY 14903
Telephone: 607-796-6061
Fax: 607-796-6028
Growing a Healthy New York - 2004
Page 12
Program Description
Every year truckloads of vegetable seedlings (young vegetable plants) go to waste because
commercial greenhouses and home gardeners start to grow more plants than they can use.
Hunger Action Network established a seed and seedling distribution program several years ago
to enable New Yorkers to grow some of their own nutritious food by connecting them with
many of the seedlings that would have gone to waste.
The seedling project was started in conjunction with an Emergency Food Program (EFP)
vegetable garden that Hunger Action co-sponsored in Albany at the State Office Campus. The
garden yielded up to a ton of fresh produce each year for distribution to local food pantries.
Hunger Action approached local greenhouses for a seedling donation for the garden. The
response to our request for donations was so overwhelming that we decided to distribute
several thousand extra seedlings to the guests of local EFPs so that they could grow their
own food.
We were so inspired by the momentum of the project that we decided to help start other
seedling projects across the state. In addition to the seedling donations, we garnered donations
of seeds, which come in small packages in a variety of different vegetables. We developed a
manual, "Sowing Seeds…Harvesting Hope," which details how to run a seed and seedling
distribution program. Then, we conducted outreach to various non-profits and food programs
throughout the state explaining the program and offering our technical assistance and the guide
to help start the project. We distributed the guides to groups who were interested in becoming
sponsors of the program and also helped connect groups with free seeds or seedlings. The
guide includes information on the resources and materials needed to
start a seedling distribution program, information on how to organize
the program, tips for taking care of vegetable plants, sample outreach
materials, and various garden resources.
Groups have been very creative in adapting the project to their
communities' needs; some groups have linked with youth programs to
implement the project and some have set up gardening in a bucket demonstrations to
encourage community members to participate. Depending on how you adapt the program for
your community, you will need an outreach plan, a coordinator, a list of local nurseries, seeds
or seedlings, a method of picking up and distributing the seeds or seedlings, a vehicle, storage
space, distribution site, and basic plant care instructions. Your level of time commitment can
vary, too. You can run a small program by setting aside one hour a week to pick up and
deliver vegetable seeds or plants. You can also distribute a large amount of seedlings and spend
an hour or two each day for several weeks to coordinate activities. Groups can contact Hunger
Action for the guide or download it online at
"Sowing Seeds…Harvesting Hope"
A Seed and Seedling Distribution Program
Growing a Healthy New York - 2004
Page 13
Here are the program basics:
1. Contact nurseries, greenhouses and farms. Conduct a mailing or call your local greenhous-
es, nurseries and farms to request donations of seeds or seedlings in the spring. Many plant
outlets are anxious to clear out their inventory in the early summer and have leftover plants
that they are glad to donate, rather than seeing them go to waste. You can find a list of plant
outlets in your local yellow pages or contact the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets
at 518-457-2087 or
You may also be able to obtain free seeds if you do not have space for seedlings. The America
the Beautiful Fund (ABF) gives away free seeds for vegetables and other plants. The
application to request seeds is a simple one-page form. You have to pay for the shipping costs
of the seeds. Contact ABF at (202) 638-1649 or
2. Outreach and distribution plan. You should develop a method for informing people about
your program and the actual distribution of seeds or seedlings. A flyer may be helpful in
informing people about planned distributions. You may be able to set up a table for
distribution at a street fair. Other good places to distribute vegetable seedlings include food
pantries, soup kitchens, urban community gardens, subsidized or supported housing
complexes, schools, veteran's homes, and senior housing.
3. Coordinate pick up of seedlings. Make follow-up phone calls in late May or early June to
make arrangements for picking up the donations. You will need a vehicle if you are planning
to pick up seedlings from a greenhouse. You may need a place to store the seeds or seedlings
if you are distributing them over the course of a few days.
4. Provide basic plant care instructions with the seeds or seedlings. Make gardening
instructions available for people who may be growing vegetables for the first time. Hunger
Action has a flyer on basic plant care instructions that we can provide, and your local
Cooperative Extension office should have these materials, too.
5. Send letters thanking contributors. You should send thank you letters to groups that donate
seeds or seedlings to your projects. Ask them to keep your program in mind for the future.
Additional Features
Seedling programs have many benefits. Perhaps the most important is the increased level of
food security experienced by families who have the opportunity to grow their own vegetables.
Families also experience the added benefit of increasing their horticultural skills and
developing an increased connection with, and respect for, the environment.
Growing food is also an important part of our cultural heritage, a heritage that many of us have
lost touch with. Reclaiming seedlings that would otherwise be disposed of also helps limit our
solid waste. The rewards are numerous.
Low-Income Involvement in the
Organization of the Program
A seed and seedling distribution program is a simple, effective way to enable low-income
people to grow fresh, wholesome food for themselves and their families. Vegetables grown in
a container or in a backyard are an additional source of affordable, nutritious food.
Low-income New Yorkers that have participated in this program have informed us that they
were surprised by how easy it was to grow their own food and by the large amount of food that
they were able to grow.
Growing a Healthy New York - 2004
Page 14
Funding Sources
America the Beautiful Fund ( provided free seeds, though Hunger Action
pays for shipping costs, which are roughly $15 per 100 seed packets. Staff and outreach was
supported through various grants including the Community Food and Nutrition Program,
through the New York State Community Action Association and the U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services; however, it is possible to coordinate the program with very few
staff and modest amounts of funding. NYS greenhouses and nurseries donated various
Contact Information:
Hunger Action Network of New York State
NYC: Susannah Pasquantonio
260 W. 36th Street, Suite 504
New York, NY 10018
Telephone: 212-741-8192
Fax: 212-741-7236
Albany: Sheila McCarthy
275 State Street, 4th Floor
Albany, NY 12210
Telephone: 518-434-7371
Fax: 518-434-7390
Growing a Healthy New York - 2004
Page 15
Community Food Security
To succeed in overcoming hunger, many groups are becoming involved in a growing national
movement known as Community Food Security or Food Justice. Community Food Security is
a different approach to ending hunger that not only seeks to provide people with food, but also
examines where the food is coming from, if it is healthy, and how it is grown. Community
Food Security aims to end hunger by uniting regional economies, communities in need, and
locally grown food.
Community Food Security's basic principle is that all people should have access to an adequate
amount of nutritious, culturally appropriate food, at all times, through local, non-emergency
sources. Advocates, community organizers, farmers, faith groups, concerned citizens, students
and others are currently working together to reach this goal and to ensure the basic human right
to food in New York State.
New York's food pantries and soup kitchens are an essential front line in fighting hunger,
giving food to people in need. Yet, the demand for food continues to increase while the root
causes of hunger persist. In response, many groups who work to end hunger are beginning to
explore how we might improve access to healthy food within the context of our "food system."
A food system is essentially a web of connections, from production to consumer, through
which food makes it to your table. Our typical food system plays an important role in the
hunger crisis in our state. In the case of a person or family that is food insecure, linkages
within the food system are weak at some point, and as a result adequate food does not reach
their table. Examples may include the following: an elderly person living alone may be
physically unable to access a farmers' market or nearby supermarket; many lower income
people live in neighborhoods with convenience stores that typically do not offer affordable or
locally grown produce; families living in outlying regions of a county cannot use WIC
Farmers' Market Nutrition Coupons at small farm stands near their homes; and many farmers
are struggling to find markets alongside community members unable to meet their food needs.
These are examples of systemic problems that may involve a range of challenges, such as lack
of transportation, limited income, businesses not willing to open shop in inner cities, or
inadequate links between local farmers and their communities.
By providing food for people solely through the emergency food system, we focus on treating
the symptom of an insufficient food system. In contrast, the community food security
movement addresses the root causes of hunger and strives to make a more democratic food
system that gives communities greater control in choosing how their food is produced,
distributed, and accessed.
Growing a Healthy New York - 2004
Page 16
Program Description
The mission of the East New York Farms! project is to organize youth and adult residents to
address hunger and malnutrition in their community and to protect and restore their
environment by promoting local and regional sustainable agriculture and community-based
development. East New York Farms! is a collaborative project of the United Community
Centers, the Local Development Corporation of East New York, Cornell Cooperative
Extension, and the Pratt Institute Center for Community and Environmental Development.
The project's goals are to: improve community nutrition and access to sustainable foods;
encourage sustainable community development; educate youth and engage them in improving
their community; preserve open space in the form of community gardens; and create a public
To achieve these goals, the project focuses on five programmatic areas that work together and
comprise a sustainable revitalization strategy for the economically and environmentally
distressed neighborhood of East New York in Brooklyn. The programmatic areas include: the
East New York Farmers' Market, a Youth Internship Program, Gardener Organizing and
Technical Assistance, Alternative Food Systems: Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
with a Community Garden Component, and Community Nutrition Education.
East New York Farmers' Market
The market serves as a community space and a catalyst for the development of local economy
between micro-entrepreneurs and local consumers needing quality produce and neighborhood
retail convenience. The market provides a quality food source for the whole neighborhood,
including an outlet for residents to redeem WIC and Senior Center Farmers' Market Nutrition
Program coupons, through which 85% of the market sales are made. A total of 20 urban
gardeners, 15 local craftspeople, 3 farmers, and youth interns sell at the market each year and
market fees help support the project. The three regional farmers who sell at the market are all
East New York Farms!
Growing a Healthy New York - 2004
Page 17
family farmers within New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. One of the farmers is a
certified transitional farmer, who is making the transition to become an organic farmer. All of
the gardeners, in addition to the youth interns, grow using organic methods.
Youth Internship Program
The youth program consists of an integrated curriculum that engages youth in a tangible
project for the benefit of the community. Youth are recruited from local middle schools and
paid a stipend for their work through an internship in which they grow organic vegetables and
sell them at their own stand at the market. Growing vegetables, executing building projects in
the garden, and exploring why we grow food using organic methods helps to reinforce
ecology, biology, and math concepts the youth learn in school. Hands-on work in urban
agriculture also provides an opening for youth to explore social inequalities such as hunger and
food access in their community and to discover their own potential to be agents of social
change. Issue and skilled-based workshops give youth the opportunity to reflect on their
experiences together, to practice social skills, and to think about the social context of their
work. Through this process, young people participate in their community's civic and
economic development and effect change in their local food system.
Gardener Organizing and Technical Assistance
The project recruits community and backyard gardeners to grow and sell crops at the farmers'
market, and provides them with agricultural training, help from the youth program, and basic
supplies. Training emphasizes environmentally sustainable gardening methods, including
composting, rainwater harvesting, water conservation, and organic pest control. The project
also supports gardeners in advocating for preservation for their gardens and educating fellow
community members. In addition, gardeners who have been part of the project for several
years form a core group, who help advertise for the farmers' market, interview applicants for
the youth program, and mentor new gardeners, as well as plan for the project's future.
Alternative Food Systems: Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) with a
Community Garden Component
This program provides a way for East New Yorkers to purchase a weekly vegetable "share" at
a reduced price from a family farmer who sells at the market, with subsidized shares available
for low-income members. Members volunteer their time at distribution and with other CSA
tasks throughout the season. This project is in its beginning stages, and the CSA coordinator
is in the process of helping members organize a "core group," to take on responsibility for
collective decision-making and administrative aspects of the program as it grows. A grant
received from Hunger Action Network this year has made it possible to integrate the CSA with
our youth garden. The addition of new compost allowed for the expansion of the garden
growing area and increased food production. In this expanded area, the youth interns grew
some produce that the CSA farmer did not grow, including collard greens and cucumbers,
which were then added to the main CSA share.
This connection with the garden also creates additional opportunities for CSA members to
learn first-hand about sustainable agriculture through volunteer days in the garden, pick-your-
own cherry tomatoes days, and events such as this year's kick-off party where youth gave tours
to CSA members highlighting sustainable growing methods.
Community Nutrition Education
The objective of this program is to promote good nutrition and awareness of sustainable food
systems for community residents. Through this program, Cornell University Cooperative
Extension has conducted comprehensive food demonstrations at the Farmers' Market for the
past three years. In 2004, a series of cooking courses in the United Community Centers
kitchen in the spring and fall, and cooking demonstrations at local WIC and Senior centers will
give community residents a chance to learn hands-on nutrition and cooking skills.
Growing a Healthy New York - 2004
Page 18
Barriers Encountered and Solutions
As a project committed to long-term grassroots improvements in the community's food
system, East New York Farms! is constantly in competition with the mainstream,
"convenience" food culture that dominates the neighborhood. Less nutritious food that is not
sustainably grown is usually more abundant, more convenient, more recognized, and appears
more affordable than the products offered through the farmers' market and CSA program. The
solution to this barrier has been education. Workshops with both youth and community
gardeners stress sustainable, low-input growing techniques. Outreach to the general public,
through local health centers, schools, block associations, tenants' associations, churches,
shelters, daycare centers, and more, has also emphasized the health, environmental, and
economic benefits of a more local and sustainable food system, as well as the viability of such
systems. Education about local food systems has also been necessary to please customers who
are not informed about seasonal foods. For example, people who come in November looking
for strawberries would be unhappy with the lack of selection since local strawberries would
not be in season. This season, East New York Farms! has begun posting a sign at the market
entrance each Saturday listing produce availability for each week, and projected availability
for the following week.
Also, because small sustainable farmers do not receive any federal subsidizes, their produce is
often too expensive for very low-income families. For this reason East New York Farms! has
chosen to subsidize CSA shares for members who meet income eligibility guidelines. This
system has been successful and attracted 25 low-income members this season. Extensive
outreach has also been conducted to local WIC and senior centers to improve redemption rates
of Farmers' Market Nutrition Program coupons since these vouchers allow low-income
residents to access the produce for free.
Additional Features
A unique aspect of the program is the focus on long-term and sustainable changes in the local
food system. East New York Farms! takes this approach because lack of access to good
quality and nutritious foods, and associated diet-related illnesses like diabetes, high-blood
pressure, and heart disease have in recent years become a more pressing issue in the
community than "hunger" in the traditional sense.
In addition, the focus on engaging the whole community, and particularly in pairing youth
interns with elderly gardeners in need of assistance, provides an opportunity for positive
intergenerational exchange that is not otherwise abundant.
Low-Income Involvement in the
Organization of the Program
East New York is largely a low-income community, and community members are integrated
into all levels of the planning and execution of the project. Gardeners and craftspeople who
have been part of the project for several years form a core group, who help advertise for the
farmers' market, interview applicants for the youth program, and mentor new gardeners, as
well as plan for the project's future. In the Community Supported Agriculture Program, where
all members are invited to participate in planning, low-income members comprise over 85%
of the membership and 100% of the core group. The core group meets monthly to make
collective decisions and handle administrative aspects of the program. Even in the youth
gardening internship, youth spend their first day at the program setting and agreeing on shared
rules and expectations that will govern their program. Second year interns take on
increased responsibility for leading other interns and helping to plan and execute lessons and
other activities.
Growing a Healthy New York - 2004
Page 19
Public Policy Component
Youth interns have continually been involved in political action to preserve their project.
During the past season, interns collected signatures on petitions: one to save their garden from
being slated for development, and another to save the market site from being slated for
development. Also, this spring East New York Farms! hosted a food and nutrition conference
attended by 60 community members, all of whom were encouraged at registration and
throughout the day to sign postcards to oppose proposed funding cuts to the Farmers' Market
Nutrition Program in 2005. The postcards were collected by youth interns and sent to state and
federal representatives.
In addition, East New York Farms! staff continually works to inform gardeners, farmers'
market customers, and CSA members about relevant food policy issues. They are currently in
the process of forming the East New York Food Policy Council, initiated at the conference in
March, that will create a venue for more consistent, coordinated, and extensive community
action on public policy.
Funding Sources
The East New York Farms! Project receives funding from: U.S.D.A. Community Food
Projects, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, The Federation of Protestant
Welfare Agencies, Heifer International, Independence Community Foundation, the Indirect
Vitamins Purchasers Antitrust Litigation Settlement administered by the NYS Attorney
General and by the Hunger Action Network of NYS, Just Food, and Little Red School House/
Elizabeth Irwin Roundtable.
Contact Information:
East New York Farms!
Georgine Yorgey
613 New Lots Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11207
Telephone: 718-649-7979
Fax: 718-649-7256
Growing a Healthy New York - 2004
Page 20
Program Description
GardenShare is a nonprofit network of gardeners and others working to end hunger and build
community food security in northern New York State. Each spring since 1996, GardenShare
has recruited North Country gardeners to share their garden harvests with their neighbors by
donating homegrown fruits and vegetables to 30 participating food pantries in St. Lawrence
County. Over the years, some 200 households have volunteered in this way.
With such an abundance of food growing in our backyards, it makes sense to share in this way.
But, of course, charity alone won't end hunger. So in recent years, GardenShare has begun
focusing on efforts to build community food security in the region.
To do this effectively, GardenShare wanted to develop a conceptual framework upon which to
organize their efforts. They also wanted to come up with a way that the public could visualize
what community food security means-to draw a picture in people's minds. The result was the
"Eight Hands at Your Table" campaign, which introduces the concept of community food
security by inviting people to make room for eight hands around their dinner table: the farmer's
hands, the cook's hands, their neighbor's hands, and their own hands.
The campaign was kicked off by distributing 2,000 Eight Hands table tents to supporters and
social service agencies, at public events, and to restaurants, which displayed them on their
tables around Hunger Awareness Day, which takes place annually on the third Thursday of
March. The colorful table tent reads, "Each time you sit down for a meal, make room for these
eight hands at your table." The text introduces the meaning of each set of hands and then goes
on to suggest practical ways to make room for these hands at every meal:
The Farmer's Hands
Support Local Farms
Shop at farmers' markets
Ask your supermarket to sell locally grown food
Join a food
co-op where your voice will be heard on food issues
Grow fruits and vegetables in your
own backyard or in a community garden
Buy shares in a Community Supported
Agriculture program, which links consumers directly with local growers
The Cook's Hands
Celebrate Local Foods
Learn to prepare regional cuisine
Eat fresh foods from a local farm, not processed foods
from a box
Vary your diet according to what fruits and vegetables are in season
restaurants that offer locally grown food on their menus
Encourage schools and colleges to
serve locally grown food in their cafeterias
Your Neighbor's Hands
Cultivate Community & Generosity
Invite friends over for a "slow food" meal
Share your garden harvest with your neighbors
at a food pantry
Eat meals with your family
Lobby legislators for public policies that
benefit people living on a low-income
Talk with your friends, your family, and your
coworkers about food and hunger issues
"Eight Hands at Your Table" Campaign
Growing a Healthy New York - 2004
Page 21
Your Own Hands
Eat Mindfully, with Gratitude
Educate yourself about our local food system
Join an anti-hunger organization
the beauty of food by bringing a simple artistry to your table
Be aware of how your food
choices matter
Commit yourself to buy, prepare, and eat food responsibly
Cultivate a
grateful heart for the food you receive
This public education campaign has been backed up by the following yearlong projects aimed
at addressing hunger and building community food security in the North Country:
A collaboration with Cornell Cooperative Extension to create three home gardens for
low income households;
An expansion of GardenShare's support for two existing community gardens, including
hiring a summer garden advisor for one of these gardens, which serves some 150 people;
An expansion of the collaborative Farm-to-School Support Project, to include two more
schools and to increase the number of participating growers;
The creation of a hunger/food educational component for the Farm-to-School project;
An increase in the frequency of GardenShare's newsletter and an upgrade of the website;
The inclusion of legislative action suggestions in the newsletter and website; and
The initiation of an annual "Growing Community Award," presented to an individual or
group in recognition of their efforts to create community food security in the region.
In future years, GardenShare's specific projects will no doubt change. But the "Eight Hands at
Your Table" concept will continue to provide a guiding vision for GardenShare's work to build
community food security in the North Country.
Low-Income Involvement in the
Organization of the Program
The GardenShare board member taking the lead on creating home gardens for low-income
households is a former food stamp recipient. Low-income community members are a part of
"Your Neighbor's Hands" helping to improve public policies. Low-income households
visiting food pantries are the recipients of donated harvest produce.
Public Policy Component
The legislation action suggestions we make are drawn from legislative alerts received from
Hunger Action Network, the Community Food Security Coalition, Bread for the World, and
Funding Sources
Funding for the non-legislative components of the Eight Hands campaign was provided by the
Indirect Vitamins Purchasers Antitrust Litigation Settlement administered by the NYS
Attorney General and by Hunger Action Network of NYS. Additional funding came from
GardenShare's own local supporters.
Contact Information:
GardenShare's "Eight Hands at Your Table" Campaign
Phil Harnden
860 Maple Ridge Rd.
Richville, NY 13681
Growing a Healthy New York - 2004
Page 22
Program Description
New York State school meal programs serve nearly two million meals everyday, with total
spending estimated at $500 million annually. This represents a huge potential market for New
York farm products. Yet aside from milk, only a small percentage of the food currently being
served in our schools is coming from local farms.
The Farm-to-School program helps facilitate and promote the purchase of New York State
farm products by schools, universities and other educational institutions. New York State is a
leader in a variety of farm products, ranking first in cabbage and cottage cheese, second in
apples and sweet corn, and third in grapes, snap beans and milk. By purchasing New York farm
products, local school districts not only help farmers increase their profits and improve farm
economic viability, but they also provide all children, regardless of economic background,
with nutritious and healthy foods. This program is a win-win for both our schools and our agri-
cultural community, benefiting the health of New York State's children and local economies.
Hannibal Central Schools coordinates a Farm-to-School Project in the Central New York
region. The program began as a participant in Farm-to-School Pilot Projects coordinated
through the Cornell Cooperative Extension Farm-to-School Program.
The school food supplier, Dave Johnson of C's Farms, is a key player in the coordination of
this project. He has helped contact numerous farmers and has gone to the farmers to pick up
the food. New items were introduced into the school menu including fresh pears, plums, baked
potatoes, salt potatoes, and red diced potatoes. Most of these products are available all school
yearlong and the students have accepted these items. Working with the food supplier ensured
that the school would have transportation for the project.
Hannibal Central School’s
Farm-to-School Pilot Project
Growing a Healthy New York - 2004
Page 23
Before setting up the project, it was necessary to identify which locally grown products would
be most in demand amongst students. In spring of 2003, with the help of the Oswego County
Farm Bureau, the Cornell Cooperative Extension office of Oswego County and the Cornell
University pilot manager, the groups united their efforts and held a "New York Harvest Health
Fair" for all students (grades 3 through 6), their parents and staff. This event was held during
the day. Students had the opportunity to choose which types of produce they were most inter-
ested in. The students test tasted several items such as milk, cheese, apples and cider. They
also learned about corn and squash and were able to milk a man-made cow named Clover! The
Food Bank of the Southern Tier prepared and served a bean chili for students to taste. Three
varieties of apples were taste tested and students voted for their favorite apple. Empire Apples won!
In fall of 2004, the "New York Harvest Health Fair" for students in grades 5 through 8 was
held in the evening so that more parents could attend the event. New taste testing dishes were
provided. An apple crisp was featured along with scallop potatoes and coleslaw. We used vari-
eties of apples, potatoes and onions to show how different varieties give different tastes and
textures. We also had several displays, ranging from herb growers to a Christmas tree grower.
Additional Features
It is important to provide education about the importance of eating locally grown food to teach
students and their parents about where their food comes from and its nutritious value through
events such as the "New York Harvest Health Fair." The school also participates in the Fruit
and Vegetable of the Month campaign produced through Cornell University and highlight
recipes throughout the month. Nutrition information and recipes are included in school menus
and posted in the school website and informative bulletins are sent home with students to share
with their families.
Low-Income Involvement in the
Organization of the Program
Food Service staff operates the Farm-to-School project at Hannibal Central Schools in
collaboration with local farmers and the school food service supplier. The school ensures that
all school children have access to fresh local fruits and vegetables as part of school meals that
are either regular, free or reduced price.
Barriers Encountered and Solutions
How does it TASTE! Taste-testing events are held at the school so that students could try
locally grown food and indicate which items they would eat regularly. Taste testing events
ensure that there is indeed demand for the local products incorporated into the cafeteria menu,
which in turn helps guarantee long-term markets.
Transportation: Transportation of produce is an issue. To get around this barrier, Hannibal
Central School uses its regular food service supplier to obtain local produce.
School Food Suppliers: Sometimes, purchasing and transporting directly from a local farmer
creates complications, one being that it may force regular food suppliers to eliminate certain
products from their deliveries to the school. To circumvent this problem, the school chose to
purchase locally grown food through its supplier rather than purchase it directly.
Unfortunately, school food suppliers often purchase the lowest priced food available, which
means that they may end up purchasing items from far away. One way around this problem is
to request NYS types of produce, such as McIntosh Apples, potatoes or cabbage if you plan to
purchase locally grown produce through your supplier. Other types of veggies typically grown
in NYS are grapes, snap beans and sweet corn.
Growing a Healthy New York - 2004
Page 24
Important tips: Before implementing a Farm-to-School project, it is important to have the
approval and support of the school Superintendent and the Board of Education. At Hannibal
Central School, a meeting was scheduled with the Superintendent and Board, during which the
Farm-to-School Project was proposed and approved. It is also important to start your project
by taking small steps. For instance, the food service staff began by meeting with the Student
Decision Making Committee who collaborated with them on coordinating taste-testing
events. Staff also gained the support of others in the community in order to obtain volunteers
for the events.
Public Policy Component
Governor George Pataki signed legislation to amend the Farm-to-School program. This
program promotes the purchase of New York State farm products in NYS schools. The two
primary changes are expanding the allowance for purchasing from associations of more than
ten farmers and a clearer definition of purchasing from farmers at "market value." Previous
regulations held that purchases could only be made from individual farmers or associations
with no more than ten members. "Market value" definitions are made to assure that the cost of
items purchased from local farmers must be comparable to prices offered to school food
service directors by alternative food suppliers.
School Food Service Directors planning to purchase locally grown food need to fill out a
"Notice of Intent to Purchase Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Locally" and send it to the NYS
Education Department. You can request the form via mail or contact Debra Vercruysse at the
NYS Education Department, State Education Building, Child Nutrition Program
Administration, Room 55, Albany, NY 12234, 518-473-1525.
Funding Sources
There is no budget for this project other than the regular revenue the school receives from
reimbursed meals and students' payment. The taste-testing events were volunteer run and
utilized donated locally grown food.
Contact Information:
Hannibal Central Schools Food Service Department
Farm-to-School Pilot Project
Debbie Richardson
928 Cayuga Street
Hannibal, NY 13074
Telephone: 315-564-7910, x. 4157
Fax: 315-564-7973
Growing a Healthy New York - 2004
Page 25
Program Description
This project was initiated in 2003 by Northside Neighborhood Association community
members and was brought to fruition by Meg Meixner and Joanna Green, members of
the neighborhood who took leadership for the project development. They contacted Cornell
Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Tompkins County to lend organizational overhead to
the project.
Project Components in 2003
" M
The Ithaca Farmers' Market is held on Saturdays across a highway that makes it geographi-
cally inaccessible to Northside Neighborhood members. Additionally, neighborhood residents
reported that the produce sold at the Ithaca Farmers' Market was highly priced and they viewed
it as an upscale market that presented socioeconomic barriers to the residents in the Northside.
In order to overcome these barriers, the project brought the market to the neighborhood! An
"After Market" Market (also known as "Second Sale" or "Satellite" Market) was established.
The program worked as follows: farmers were contacted and asked to provide produce on a
consignment basis (left over) at the end of the market with the understanding that farmers
would get paid for what was sold. For farmers this was a good opportunity because otherwise
they might have just composted the produce that was not sold. Produce was then collected
from the farmers and a farm stand consisting of a tent and table was set up in the Northside
Neighborhood. This "After Market" Market was located on the grounds of a low-income
housing apartment complex. An active community member, Meg Meixner, worked with other
volunteers and youth from the neighborhood to set up the stand and sell the produce on a
weekly basis on Saturday afternoons from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. The consumers benefited because
the produce was sold at a much-reduced price and they had access to fresh produce. The
customer traffic included neighborhood folks and a few passersby. Some regular clientele
were established by the end of the season.
Northside Neighborhood Association's
"After Market" Market
Growing a Healthy New York - 2004
Page 26
Approximately 30 people in the Northside Neighborhood purchased food from the "After
Market" Market each week. Farmers benefited from the additional sales and even though
prices were lower than what they might get at the Ithaca Farmers' Market, it was connecting
them to an additional source of income that they wouldn't otherwise receive. In addition, the
farmers did not have to spend the time involved in selling the produce.
Meg Meixner and other community members arranged at least one dinner for area residents
featuring locally grown food. The meals were held early in the summer at a church in the
neighborhood. The goal was to build community and appreciation for local foods. About 60
people attended.
"We Pick Days" were arranged in cooperation with Cooperative Extension's Nutrition
Program. Residents from the neighborhood were invited to go to a farm and pick berries for
preserving. After picking, the participants came together at Cornell Cooperative Extension of
Tompkins County and processed their products. About 8 people participated on 3 different
occasions. Most of these people had never visited a farm before.
Recruitment and promotion efforts for the "After Market" Market, Community Meals and We
Pick Days included articles in the Northside Neighborhood Association newsletter, flyers that
were left at community homes, and neighbor-to-neighbor networking.
At the end of the program, Northside Neighborhood Association evaluated the efforts and
considered efforts to pursue in 2004. All of the initiatives were successful on some level but
involved having all the key pieces in place to enable them to continue.
Project Components in 2004
In 2004, the "After Market" Market was continued and moved from Saturday afternoon to
Monday evenings from 5 p.m.-7 p.m. An interested group of community members, a VISTA
volunteer, and another farmer were new partners in the project. The farmer agreed to be
present at the market on a weekly basis and bring products for sale at a lower price. In
addition, volunteers picked up produce from other farmers at the Sunday Ithaca Farmers'
Market. Cornell Cooperative Extension continued to provide space for produce storage until
Monday and the tent for the market. In addition, Cornell Cooperative Extension employed
Meg Meixner to be the steward of the project. She brought her experience from the prior
season to the new volunteers involved. The goal this season was to have a volunteer-run
market. It worked for the most part, but at the end of the season the "After Market" Market
stopped early because the volunteer staff had other commitments and the farmer had to drop
out due to labor problems. Northside Neighborhood Association has not yet met to evaluate
the success of the project in 2004 in terms of consumers and farmers; however, project
coordinators feel that once again, the "After Market" Market established a regular customer
base and farmers felt that they benefited from the sales. Plans have yet to be made for 2005
and the future of the program.
"We Pick Days" were held again and continue to be a popular activity.
Low-Income Involvement in the
Organization of the Program
Involvement was limited. However, this program was indeed started because of Northside
Neighborhood Association interest and the evolution of the project was driven by
neighborhood input. Planning meetings were held that included Cooperative Extension staff.
Growing a Healthy New York - 2004
Page 27
Barriers Encountered and Solutions
The Northside Neighborhood is a very mixed neighborhood that includes African Americans,
Asians and Caucasians. The groups tend to remain segregated. In addition, some residents
have lived in the neighborhood a long time while others have moved to the area because
housing costs are reasonable. Both these factors act as barriers to participation and to
effective leadership within the project.
To ensure that the program continues, Northside Neighborhood Association is currently
exploring ways to ensure that community members have a greater sense of ownership over this
project. Thus far, members of the community have been supportive as customers. However,
more residents from diverse backgrounds are needed to actually lead the program to ensure its
longevity. The challenge is to make the market better fit people's lives by providing a
convenient and appropriate time of day for people to shop at the market and by making sure
to offer produce that people want and know how to use. Northside Neighborhood Association
hopes to continue to work on this through the Cornell Cooperative Extension Nutrition
Program, which already has established community networks.
The youth program in the neighborhood was not funded so that was a missing link for pulling
youth into the program.
Because this project requires a lot of work and support from the community, it is necessary to
ensure that there will be a coordinator for the project in order to keep it going.
Funding Sources
Funding for the part-time coordinator for the "After Market" Market as well as the Community
Meals and We Pick Days was provided by the Indirect Vitamins Purchasers Antitrust Litigation
Settlement administered by the NYS Attorney General and by Hunger Action Network of
NYS. Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County made additional staff contributions
and provided materials support.
Contact Information:
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County
Monika Roth
615 Willow Ave.
Ithaca, NY 14850
Telephone: 607-272-2292
Fax: 607-272-7088
Northside Neighborhood Association
Meg Meixner
Telephone: 607-273-0763
Growing a Healthy New York - 2004
Page 28
Community Supported Agriculture
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) allows New Yorkers to buy affordable nutritious
food and support local farmers at the same time. A CSA farmer sells shares of his/her crop to
CSAmembers in the winter and spring. Members typically pay a lump sum to the farmer, rang-
ing from $200 to $400 depending on the CSA. The produce is harvested and distributed to the CSA
members about once a week at the farm or neighborhood site throughout the summer and fall.
Canticle Farms shares with us the interesting and unique history of CSAs. CSA is a form of
agriculture that began in Japan in the 1960's. A group of women became concerned about the
increasing pesticide use, the over-processing of foods, the long distances that their food
traveled, and the decreasing number of farmers in rural areas. They decided to support a local
farmer by pre-paying for all of the produce they would receive from him during the growing
season. The farmer then worked for several families with the assurance that all of the produce
he planned to grow was already sold at a fair price. The women, in turn, agreed to share the
risks and rewards of farming since they were not guaranteed a certain quantity of a particular
vegetable. If there was a surplus, they got more; if it was a bad year for a particular crop, they
got less. This arrangement was positive for all parties involved and the CSA concept went global,
coming to the United States in the 1980's. The first CSA opened in Massachusetts in 1986.
There are now more than 1,000 CSAs in the United States and their popularity is growing
rapidly. They offer Americans fresh, delicious food that is produced in an environmentally
sound way, is healthful to the body, and supports the local economy. CSAs also afford
consumers a direct relationship with the means of production and the producers of their food.
Families with children especially enjoy the opportunities the farms afford their children to pick
beans or play in open spaces.
CSAs benefit both the members and farmers since members receive farm fresh local produce,
which is often cheaper than in their local grocery store, and farmers receive income during the
winter months. Paying a lump sum can make it difficult for people of certain income levels to
join a CSA. However, new methods of organizing CSAs are making it easier for low-income
people to participate. Some CSAs accept Food Stamps, operate on a sliding scale, or provide
stipends for their low-income members.
Buying affordable locally grown food not only benefits low-income New Yorkers, but it also
supports small-scale farms and strengthens the local food supply. CSAs strengthen not only
neighborhoods, but also entire regions, by reuniting people with the farmers who grow their
food and the land on which it is grown.
If you are interested in creating a CSA, your first task is to do some research. Contact local
farmers to find available CSA programs and also be sure to determine whether there is
sufficient interest in CSA membership in your community. There are several resources listed
in the last section of the manual that can help you in this endeavor.
Growing a Healthy New York - 2004
Page 29
Program Description
Canticle Farm is a non-profit Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm located in
Allegany, New York and was founded by the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany. Canticle Farm has
been providing many services to the community for the past four years.
Canticle Farm grows over 33 different fruits and vegetables organically for distribution to its
shareholders. Shareholders pay in advance for a share of the farm's produce and then come to
the farm weekly throughout the 20-week growing season to pick up that week's harvest of
fruits and vegetables. The vegetables are harvested in the morning and arranged by vegetable
in bushel baskets. The shareholders come in the afternoon to pick up a specified amount
of each vegetable. Every full shareholder gets the same amount of produce and a half
shareholder gets half of that amount. Shares are available to anyone in the community and can
be purchased either as a full-share ($425), which serves four to six people, or a half-share
($240), which serves one to three people.
Additionally, two new programs have been added to make Canticle Farm available to a greater
number of people in the community. Individuals who qualify as low-income can participate
in a Payment Plan and in the Working Share Program. To qualify, individuals must meet one
of the following five criteria: earn less than $25,000 a year regardless of family size, utilize
Medicaid, utilize SSI, utilize Food Stamps or live in public housing. Qualifying individuals
may pay for the cost of a share over several months through our Revolving Loan Fund.
Regular shareholders are asked to pay the full cost of the share before the season begins; the
Revolving Loan Fund allows qualifying individuals to make payments over the course of the
season (June to October). The second program that has been added is a Working Share
Program. Qualifying low-income individuals may work on the farm in exchange for a reduced
rate. For every hour they work, $6.00 is subtracted from the cost of their share. Individuals
are not able to work off the entire cost of the share; there are a certain number of
hours that are available through the Working Share Program and these are divided up
between participants.
This is the first year initiating these two programs and there are eleven unique participants.
The participants do a variety of work: maintenance field work, harvesting, transplanting,
planting, hosting the distribution tent, writing newsletter articles, helping with fundraisers, and
helping with marketing. The Working Share participants, along with regular volunteers, par-
ticipated in a one-hour volunteer orientation at the beginning of the season. They are respon-
sible for writing down their volunteer hours in the volunteer book that is kept on the farm; this
allows us to keep track of the number of volunteer hours that are contributed and to recognize
volunteers at the end of the season at the Thanksgiving Celebration. Several Working Share
participants have already completed their hours, but continue to volunteer because they enjoy
the work and value the community they have formed at the farm. Canticle Farm is committed
to increasing the well-being and livability of the community as a whole and recognizes that
often those who need the fresh, healthy produce the most have difficulty reaching it.
Canticle Farm
Growing a Healthy New York - 2004
Page 30
These two programs have been made possible by a grant from the Indirect Vitamins Purchasers
Antitrust Litigation Settlement administered by the NYS Attorney General and by Hunger
Action Network of NYS. The programs have been very successful and have helped reach a
large number of people, more than just the eleven who chose to participate. Many more
individuals have been educated as to the benefits of Canticle Farm due to publicity in soup
kitchens, food pantries, public housing facilities, group homes, service agencies and public
assistance offices. Countless people were at least introduced to the concept of health-giving,
local, sustainable foods from a community farm.
Additional Features
The commitment to care for the local community takes on many different forms at Canticle
Farm. The most obvious form is the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables that are grown
without synthetic herbicides or pesticides. The natural means of production helps keep
people healthy, protects the environmental quality of the area, and increases the productivity
of the land for future generations. The farm also offers educational programs and social
gatherings to the whole community. Last season's events included a composting workshop, a
tomato canning workshop, an Earth Day Celebration, a Summer Solstice Celebration, a Corn
Roast, a Harvest Festival and a Thanksgiving Celebration. This year, an educational cookbook
is being developed. Canticle Farm connects shareholders not only to the land, their food and
their farmer, but also to one another.
In addition to providing fresh produce, educational and social events, Canticle Farm also
commits itself to providing at least 20% of its harvest to service organizations and low-income
families in the Cattaraugus County area. This season Canticle Farm donated fresh produce to
eight local service organizations and five individual families. This is made possible by
donations and grants that are solicited from national and local foundations, local businesses
and individuals. The organizations and families receiving the donations are required to pick
the produce up at the farm during regular distribution hours. This program has been highly
successful and has provided much needed fresh foods to many in the community.
Growing a Healthy New York - 2004
Farmer Mark with his trusty companion, Jasmine
Page 31
Barriers Encountered and Solutions
One of the biggest barriers encountered in the implementation of this program was
transportation. Allegany is in a relatively rural area. There is one bus line, but it is unreliable
and has a very short loop. There is a lot of poverty in this area and, thus, many people do not
have their own cars or access to one. Many more individuals would have liked to participate,
but had no way to get to the farm on a regular basis. Canticle Farm is in the process of
brainstorming solutions to this problem. They currently have one drop off site, but even this
is too much for their limited staff and it still does not allow the people to participate in the farm
community and the Working Share Program. They have discussed setting up a way to
reimburse volunteers for their mileage when they drop off shares to people. This is very
feasible, however it does not accomplish the goal of getting people to the farm. The farm is a
unique environment and they want all their shareholders to have the opportunity to be on the
farm. Canticle Farm is looking for another service agency that would perhaps like to work
with them in transporting people to the farm. However, since people's schedules are so
varied, this would be difficult. They continue to research viable solutions to this issue.
Low-Income Involvement in the
Organization of the Program
There is currently no low-income involvement in organization and administration of the
program, though Canticle Farm hopes to develop this as the program grows. They envision
creating a volunteer position to ensure that there are enough volunteers for distribution and
harvesting activities. This person would set a schedule and remind people of their
commitments if needed. They would also like to see a program participant involved in the
publicity of the two low-income programs.
Contact Information:
Canticle Farm
Elizabeth Thompson
Office: 115 E. Main St.
Allegany, NY 14706
Farm: 3835 S. Nine Mile Rd.
Allegany, NY 14706
Telephone: 716-373-0200, x. 3358
Fax: 716-373-3554
Growing a Healthy New York - 2004
Page 32
Program Description
The Chelsea CSA is a partnership between Chelsea residents, Stoneledge Farm, and Hudson
Guild, a non-profit settlement house serving the Chelsea community. The Chelsea CSA is
committed to making its membership accessible to people of all income levels.
The Chelsea CSA was founded in the Spring of 2000, one of more than two dozen New York
City groups created with the help of Just Food, a not-for-profit organization linking city
residents with regional farmers. Just Food linked the CSA with Stoneledge Farm, a NOFA
certified organic family farm that is operated by Deb and Pete Kavakos, located 2½ hours
north of New York City in South Cairo, New York. To help support the farmers, CSA
members pay a lump sum for their shares of produce in advance of the growing season. This
pre-season income covers start-up expenses such as seeds, supplies and maintenance of farm
equipment so that farmers do not have to take out high-interest loans in the winter.
In 2004, Chelsea CSA members collect their shares of freshly picked produce every Tuesday
from 4-7 p.m., mid-June to mid-November, at the Hudson Guild in Manhattan's Chelsea
neighborhood. Weekly shares of produce vary and typically include 8-12 vegetable varieties,
enough to feed a family of 2 or 3 people depending on how much of your diet consists of
vegetables. Uncollected shares and leftover produce are donated to the Children's Center at
Hudson Guild and to Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen in Chelsea, which feeds over 1,100 people
each day.
Over 74 households benefit from the CSA produce. During the 2004 season, the Chelsea CSA
provided a total of 63 vegetable shares, with 17 vegetable shares going to low-income
households. We also provided 39 fruit shares, with 11 going to low-income households.
Hudson Guild and the Chelsea CSA are committed to running a mixed-income CSA. Chelsea
CSA has a goal of making 30% of its shares available to low-income members, at a price that
is affordable and with a payment plan that is feasible. There are four main methods to achieve
this goal:
Revolving Loan Fund: In 2003, the CSA received a small grant and established a revolving
loan fund. The fund was needed to address a dilemma that the CSA faced: the farmers needed
payment from CSA shares up-front, so that they could pay for seeds, pay their salaries and
have a guaranteed budget for the season; but several low-income members were unable to pay
a lump sum at one time. The fund (approximately $4,000) is used to pay the farmer upfront on
behalf of the low-income CSA members. The members can then pay back into the fund every
two weeks throughout the course of the season in smaller, more manageable payments. The
first year of the fund was very successful and the CSA was able to provide 18 low-income
shares through the fund. Through member repayments in installments, the fund was
replenished and has been used again in 2004 to provide 17 low-income shares to Chelsea
neighborhood residents.
Chelsea CSA
Growing a Healthy New York - 2004
Transplant Frame
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Food Stamps: CSAmembers also have the option of making payments with food stamps. New
York State specifies that food stamps can only be used to pay in bi-weekly installments for a
CSA, not a lump sum. Therefore, the revolving loan fund is necessary to allow for the initial
lump sum payment to the farmer, and then bi-weekly food stamp payments replenish the fund.
In 2004, three CSA members used food stamps to pay for their share. The food stamps are
accepted through a voucher system: the food stamp recipient fills out a short form bi-weekly
and then Hudson Guild staff call in the voucher information to the Food Stamp Program
payment center.
Sliding Scale: While the revolving loan fund allows people to make payments through the
course of the season, the share price can still be too high for some people. Therefore, a
two-tiered membership rate exists so that higher-income members subsidize the share price of
lower-income members. This year, the farmer was paid $375 per share; higher-income
members pay $425 per share and low-income members pay $275 per share. The farmer offers
a discount of $25 for members who sign up and pay a deposit by the end of December. For
standard members who take advantage of this early bird special, the total cost is $375.
Discounted shares and payment plans are available for those with family incomes under
$25,000, people who receive food stamps, live in public housing or have other extenuating
Low-Income Subsidy Funds: For members who cannot afford the $275 share price, Chelsea
CSA is able to further subsidize their share price through a grant from Just Food and the New
York Community Trust. The combination of a sliding scale fee, the revolving loan fund, and
the subsidies enables low-income members to participate.
Additional Features
CSA members play an active role in running the CSA. A CSA Core Group of active
volunteers handles recruitment, deals with the farmers, and manages distribution. The CSA
Core Group continues to take on increased responsibility of running the CSA to minimize
Hudson Guild staff time and resources. In addition, all members pitch in: most serve their
required six-hour volunteer commitment by covering three two-hour shifts at the distribution
site. People often volunteer additional hours by helping with activities including cooking
demos, potluck dinners or a farm visit.
The Chelsea CSA also established a relationship with Fountain House, a home and resource
center for people with mental disabilities. Fountain House purchases several "institutional
shares" for their members. Many CSAs are looking into institutional shares as another way to
increase membership and build community relations.
Low-Income Involvement in the
Organization of the Program
The CSA holds open meetings to engage our members and receive feedback from them. It also
conducts a survey at the end of the season to gain feedback from all of our members.
Growing a Healthy New York - 2004
Page 34
Barriers Encountered and Solutions
Recruiting low-income members and working out different payment plans appropriate for each
member can be time-intensive. Just Food placed VISTA volunteers with the Chelsea CSA for
the 2001-2002 season and the 2002-2003 season to help reach out to more low-income
people, establish a Core Group, and improve the operation of the CSA. The VISTA's have been
an excellent resource for the CSA and have successfully recruited low-income people and
worked out appropriate payment plans. However, since the goal is to minimize Hudson Guild
staff time and since VISTA's or interns are not always available, Chelsea CSAis actively working
to encourage the participation of more CSA members to assist with this type of function.
Funding Sources
The CSA shares are primarily purchased through the CSA members. The CSA has also
received grants from Just Food, New York Community Trust, and the Indirect Vitamins
Purchasers Antitrust Litigation Settlement administered by the NYS Attorney General and by
Hunger Action Network of NYS to facilitate low-income membership. The CSA also receives
in-kind donations from Hudson Guild.
Contact Information:
Chelsea Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
c/o Hudson Guild
Chelsea Neighborhood of Manhattan
Telephone: 212-924-6710, Voice Mailbox 245
Growing a Healthy New York - 2004
Page 35
Program Description
Future Farm, a local organic farm, and the Tompkins County Living Wage Coalition, with
support from the Hunger Action Network of NYS, teamed up to create the Solidarity Food
Network (SFN). The goal of the partnership is to distribute fresh organic produce to
low-income families in the area at an affordable price. Individuals and families with annual
incomes below $20,000 living in Chemung, Tioga, and Tompkins counties are eligible to
participate, subject to availability.
Part of a growing social movement surrounding Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), the
partnership provides a weekly portion of the farms' harvest throughout the growing season to
members enrolled in the SFN through the Tompkins County Living Wage Coalition.
Stressing the responsibility of making healthy, locally produced, organic food accessible to
everyone, one of the key goals of Future Farm and the Solidarity Food Network is to supply
low cost, organic food to local working families in the community. To keep the cost at an
affordable price for low-income consumers, Future Farm plants in ways that reduce the
amount of work needed. They also utilize a compost-heated greenhouse and cold frames so
that they can grow food during the winter and sell the produce to local restaurants. Selling food
year-round to these restaurants helps to offset the discount cost of sale to low-income individ-
uals and families.
In addition to supplying a previously underserved market, Future Farms also emphasizes the
importance of community building through public outreach and the need to integrate
environmentally sound technologies and practices, particularly through the use of alternative
energy systems. Future Farms operations are run by solar electric power generated on-site. In
addition, participating families work two days per season at the farm to help with construction
projects (i.e. building cold frames).
Currently, the Tompkins County Living Wage Coalition, which is responsible for outreach for
SFN participants, has increased the numbers of low-income families who are members of the
CSA from 15 to 35 in the past year.
Additional Features
Future Farms developed and installed the first farm-based solar energy system in Chemung
County with a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. The farm has also trained
unemployed persons in horticulture/farming and donates food to the community.
Staff at Future Farms relies on part-time employment, such as teaching, in addition to the
profits made from the farm. Other support comes from local volunteers who contribute to labor
on the farm.
Future Farms Solidarity Food Network
Growing a Healthy New York - 2004
Page 36
Low-Income Involvement in the
Organization of the Program
Future Farm hopes over the next year to establish a board of advisors from the low-income
community to help guide them in terms of what crops to grow and how to improve delivery of
produce to the community.
Barriers Encountered and Solutions
Last year, the Living Wage Coalition had a hard time getting low-income people to join
because it was difficult to find ways to contact them. They have found that word of mouth in
the working class community is key to successful outreach. Though it is a slow process,
low-income members encouraging their neighbor(s) to join seems to be a more convincing and
effective form of outreach.
Tips on How to Outreach:
Ask low-income members to spread the word!
Show low-income communities the finished product of your farming by sampling your food
at a community center or farmers' market in a lower income area; this will build interest and
connections! Contact Hunger Action for assistance if necessary.
In addition, the culture of cooking has largely been displaced by fast food and ready to
eat/microwave meals. As a result additional outreach needs to be done to explain to folks how
to best use the produce that the farm is delivering to them.
Lastly, it has been difficult to get people to work on the farm to assist in reducing the amount
of work needed to produce food and keep costs down. However, cold frame farming and the
compost-heated greenhouse offset this barrier and keep prices down for low-income consumers.
Public Policy Component
It is necessary to do away with farm subsidies since they only help the giant farms and make
it harder for the small farmers to compete fairly.
Funding Sources
This project is made possible with funds from the occasional grant and the amount of money
made by the farm.
Past funding streams for Future Farms have included a grant of $48,000 from the New York
State Office of Recycled Market Development (NYS ORMD) for the design, construction and
operation of the compost heated greenhouse that allows the farm to produce food year-round.
Contact Information:
Future Farms Solidarity Food Network
Rob Young and James Quazi
Langford Creek Road
Van Etten, NY 14889
Telephone: 607-589-4102
Website in Progress
Growing a Healthy New York - 2004
Page 37
Community Garden
Food providers, community organizations, schools and faith communities can develop a
community garden to grow fresh fruits and veggies right in their own neighborhood!
Community gardens provide a wonderful opportunity for people to come together in a
communal atmosphere to increase the availability of fresh wholesome produce. In addition to
providing fresh produce, gardens help unify communities, are therapeutic, and help beautify
neighborhoods. Many community leaders have turned abandoned rubble-strewn lots into a
source of rejuvenation and community development. Community members also experience
the added benefit of increasing their horticultural skills and developing an increased connec-
tion with, and respect for, the environment. Growing food is also an important part of our
cultural heritage that many of us have lost touch with. Many people have a relative or know
someone who was connected to a farm or small garden, and gardens provide one means to
reconnect with the earth and each other.
Community gardens can be initiated on the land at community based agencies or faith sites,
rooftops, abandoned lots, backyards or through land that the local Department of Parks has to
offer. Produce can be harvested by and for local community citizens. Some community
gardeners donate some or much of their harvest to local food pantries and soup kitchens where
canned items are often standard fare. Developing even a small plot of land takes time and
dedication and community participation is key to the continuation of gardens. Working on a
garden certainly gives us an insight into the skill it takes our New York farmers to grow our
food. Fortunately, there are many resources available to help folks get started, many of which
are highlighted in the resource section.
Growing a Healthy New York - 2004
Page 38
Program Description
Capital District Community Gardens (CDCG) operates 40 cooperative neighborhood food
gardens where the region's low-income residents are able to move toward self-sufficiency by
growing their own healthy food while at the same time helping to beautify their
neighborhoods. For almost thirty years, CDCG has been addressing hunger, increasing food
security and fostering good health through their community gardening program in the Capital
Region's low-income, minority neighborhoods.
The gardens cover more than 15 acres in and around the region's cities and provide living
green spaces that beautify and purify the neighborhoods. The gardens provide producing use
for vacant lots that may otherwise remain garbage-strewn parcels of asphalt or weeds.
CDCG's sites currently include 650 plots that serve 2,275 people. The demand for gardening
space and for services steadily increases. In 2004, CDCG plans to add four new community
garden locations that will accommodate 210 additional people.
CDCG provides gardening space to those who do not have access to land, thereby
empowering them to provide fresh nutritious produce for their families, friends and neighbors.
Families participating in the community gardens are given access to 300-600 square food
garden plots which can produce more than $1,000 worth of fresh organic produce per growing
season. For people living on fixed incomes or relying on Food Stamps or WIC, this assistance
can be significant. Growing one's own produce lowers food costs and provides gardeners the
opportunity to supplement their diet with fresh fruits and veggies and significantly improve
their family's nutritional intake.
CDCG provides the land, free seeds and seedlings, tools, information resources, staff support,
gardening and nutrition educational opportunities, as well as management for participating
families to be as successful as possible in their gardens.
Low-Income Involvement in the
Organization of the Program
Approximately 70% of the community gardeners are in the low to moderate-income bracket,
with many of them living below the poverty line.

The community gardening programs face five major difficulties in developing and sustaining
their programs:
1. Lack of funding
2. Lack of land ownership
3. Lack of water and fencing
4. Lack of ongoing management
5. The inconsistency of gardeners from year to year
Depending on the size of a site, it can cost from $10 to $30,000 to develop a new community
garden. Fortunately, there are more opportunities for funding the development of a new
garden than there are for the ongoing upkeep and management of the gardens.
Ownership of the land is crucial for the future of any garden site. Ownership can be achieved
through land donation, land auctions or outright purchase. In the past, Neighborhood
Associations have purchased land via Community Land Trusts or Loan Funds in order to
purchase land for a community garden.
Fencing and water are two critical elements of any successful community garden. Adequate
fencing protects the garden from theft or vandalism.
Many gardening programs fail over time because they lack consistent, hands on management.
Ongoing site coordination and management is needed to ensure the gardens are fully function-
ing. To ensure garden management, consider obtaining funds via grants or fundraising to hire
a part-time staff or intern. Organizations can also find volunteers through AmeriCorps VISTA
(Volunteers In Service To America), which places individuals with community-based agencies
to help find long-term solutions to the problems caused by urban and rural poverty.
The most successful garden sites are those that have a consistent group of gardeners from year
to year who ultimately take responsibility for the garden's upkeep.
Funding Sources
Funds are obtained through various individual donors, as well as private and government
grants. CDCG also make money by offering service programs, including gardening classes.
Classes cost $10 for the general public and are free for community gardeners. There is also an
annual donation from gardeners ranging from $10 to $50, depending on the size of the garden
and other circumstances.


The Chautauqua County Rural Ministry (CCRM) is a grassroots advocacy agency with a
distinguished history of meeting the needs of the homeless, working poor and disenfranchised
in Chautauqua County. Organized in the 1950's by a group of enlightened individuals
concerned with the welfare of the very poor and migrant workers in the area, the group worked
to establish better housing and labor standards for families and their children. Today, the Rural
Ministry is an interfaith, non-denominational human service agency based on the belief that
every person is deserving of adequate food, shelter, clothing and the opportunity to work to
acquire the basic necessities. The Rural Ministry encourages self-determination and
development, empowering clients to become contributing members of the community.
Chautauqua County is a rural agricultural community in western New York. Located on Lake
Erie, the area was once a successful industrial and agricultural area. The past two decades
reveal a decline in economic growth. Industry left the area forcing many working middle
income families to relocate to more suitable geographic
areas, or to accept lower paying jobs. Unemployment rates
continue to indicate that little has changed in twenty years
to stimulate economic growth in the county. Many families
subsist on low paying service related jobs, with little or no
future for career advancement or increased income.
To address the needs of the community, Rural Ministry
created the county's first hotline for battered women, two
clothing shops, a housing preservation company, the first
rape counseling service, summer youth camp projects, a food pantry, the Hispanic Outreach
Project, the Friendly Kitchen community kitchen, the Homeless Project, the Coburn Block
Apartments, community gardening initiatives, the Gleaning Project, and the Chautauqua
County Food Bank, among many other projects.
Rural Ministry created the Chautauqua County Food Bank in 1988, in response to the need to
organize food relief efforts throughout the county. Since its inception, the Food Bank has
delivered over 1.5 million pounds of food to local emergency food pantries, community
kitchens, elderly nutrition sites, day care and children and youth programs. As one of the
major providers of food based and emergency programs to families in need, the Friendly
Kitchen served 35,600 meals in 2003.
In 1999, Rural Ministry received seed money to create its most recent endeavor, the Gleaning
Project. The Gleaning Project is a countywide program that re-harvests and distributes fresh
produce that would ordinarily be left in farmers' fields to waste. Sixty different sites located
throughout Chautauqua County receive fresh seasonal produce. The gleaned product is a vital
nutritional supplement to families who are unable to purchase fresh produce or vegetables.

The Gleaning Project has also introduced families to community gardening, and processing
and storage of fresh fruit and vegetables for consumption during the winter months. Since the
Gleaning Project's inception, Hunger Action has supported the project by offering funds to
support family gardens and community gardens. Each year the program gains more
community interest. CCRM has sponsored such programs as the family backyard garden - in
which each family was given a flat of assorted vegetables to plant in their own backyard or in
containers for their own use. Families usually received a variety of peppers, tomatoes,