Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Village Green: Affordable Fresh Food in the City

This post is dedicated to my fellow lovely queens from the 2007 Gathering Place retreat:

I recently discovered a rare gem. An affordable and more convenient way for city residents to buy fresh, in season fruits and vegetables. Cleveland, Ohio is home to an organization called City Fresh which has a goal of bringing "a more just and sustainable local food system" to urban residents. I'm all about that. The program works like this - each week you pay $20 for a full bag of produce (all from a cooperative of local farmers) or $10 for a half bag (feeds one or two individuals). If you meet certain income guidelines, you pay half. The program accepts cash, checks, food stamps, senior farmers coupons and is working with government agencies to accept other forms of payments for food. You pick up your groceries from one of ten locations. This is wonderful news, because too often, families in urban areas don't have access to affordable fresh food, which contributes to our health and obesity issues. The program is similar to a CSA (community supported agriculture), but does not require payment upfront to cover the growing season. These payments can amount to $500-$600 dollars, enough to give pause to even the most seasoned Whole Foods shopper. City Fresh is rare in that there are very few programs of this nature in the nation, most farm to table programs are set up as CSA's.

If you are interested in setting up a program like this in your city, a good place to start would be with your local agricultural extension center. Click here for a national directory.

Bon appetit!

1 comment:

Ana said...

Now that is awesome! I wish - oh, how I wish - they had something like that down here! I clicked on that link to the national directory. I confused as to what that directory is for. When you get a chance email me. I'd like to see if there is such a program in my local community that might be under a different name.