As you know, the Lancaster cooperative has been on a search for a new coordinator. A couple of weeks ago, they found one, Evan Elizabeth Miller, and she and the Co-op’s Kathan Teepe are working together to run the Co-op’s C.S.A. program. Last week, Evan and Kathan launched a new newsletter, to take the place of “The Indeterminate Tomato.” The new newsletter is called “Focus on Family.” Evan and Kathan explain: “Food and family are two terms that we believe should go hand in hand. Since L.F.F.C. serves so many different families, from farmer to suburbanite and of course to our many city-dwellers, we thought it prudent to focus our newsletter and blog postings around the families that make up the Co-op. L.F.F.C. is made up of farm families, shareholder families, and staff families. Look for a newsletter update each week focusing on one of the branches of the L.F.F.C. family tree!”
From right to left: L.F.F.C. Driver Keith and C.S.A. Coordinator Kathan (sporting an L.F.F.C. T-shirt!), visit Carey King and Christine Kaye of Harlem Community Farm Share and the Food Bank for N.Y.C.’s Community Kitchen and Food Pantry of West Harlem.
A Visit to a L.F.F.C. Shareholder Family: Food Bank for N.Y.C.’s Community Kitchen and Food Pantry of West Harlem
By Evan Elizabeth Miller
This week we’re focusing on another branch of the L.F.F.C. family tree — our shareholders. Two L.F.F.C. staff members — Kathan, C.S.A. Coordinator, and Keith, Delivery Driver, recently visited the Food Bank for N.Y.C.’s Community Kitchen and Food Pantry of West Harlem. They both report that the experience was an awesome one, and they can’t wait to visit again soon!
The mission of the West Harlem Food Bank is to provide access to fresh, healthy foods to all members of the community, regardless of socioeconomic status. They have accomplished this task in a number of ways — including the establishment of a C.S.A. pick-up site! C.S.A. members have chosen to take the lead on this effort, coordinating pick-up and distribution, which has allowed the Food Bank to better control costs and widen fresh food access for the greater Harlem community.
After hearing about Kathan and Keith’s trip, I made a call to Carey King, Harlem Community Farm Share’s Community Coordinator, to learn more about the Food Bank’s C.S.A. Program. The program is divided into four operational subcommittees. The Food Committee explains the contents of the shares and offers suggestions on preparation. The Earth Committee (i.e., “Rot Com”) is responsible for composting leftover vegetable items, and allocating the compost to the Food Bank’s Community Garden. The Community-Building Committee works to strengthen the existing C.S.A. Food Bank community through potlucks and other events. Finally, the Outreach Committee works to recruit new members, and provide education about fresh food access to the surrounding area. Carey mentioned this structure is meant to enable the C.S.A. program to become a circular and sustainable entity.
When I asked Carey about her favorite part of working with the C.S.A. program, she mentioned the sense of community this member-run initiative has created. She noted that “Harlem is a community of great diversity, but sometimes it’s easy for people to get caught up in their own little bubble. It’s been amazing to see how this [C.S.A. program] has brought all of these different people together by sharing the common ground that is fresh, healthy food.” Indeed, it is a right, not privilege, of all people to eat fresh and chemical-free food.
The relationship between L.F.F.C. and the Food Bank began through a referral from Just Food, a non-profit in N.Y.C. dedicated to providing access to healthy food to New Yorkers. Just Food selects food providers by evaluating their commitment to ethical standards of farming, animal husbandry, and the supplier’s willingness to meet price flexibility brackets. This is a great example of what dedicated people can accomplish when we come together for the common good. L.F.F.C. is proud to be part of this process.
It is our great pleasure to work with the Food Bank of West Harlem and meet some amazing shareholders in the process. We commend Carey King and Christine Kaye, Food Bank Liaison, at the Food Bank for their wonderful work within the community, and their willingness to be a part of our larger L.F.F.C. family. Thank you to all of our shareholders in Harlem for your continued support!
“Food is our common ground, a universal experience.” — James Beard
“Food is power. Are you in control of yours?” — John Jeavons.