Come out and join the Fort Greene CSA as it kicks off its inaugural 2008 season at Fort Greene Park! Distribution of fresh produce to the CSA’s (Community Supported Agriculture) 60+ members will begin on Wednesday, June 11th at 4 pm at the Myrtle Avenue and Washington Park corner of the park. Music, cooking demonstrations and composting workshops will also be offered and are free and open to the public.
Cooking Live: The folks from Just Food’s Community Food Education program will be on hand with their portable grill to deliver live cooking demonstrations using some of the vegetables from the season’s early harvest! Add a new recipe to your catalog, learn some useful tips, and taste the results!
Collecting Food Scraps: The CSA is collecting food scraps (no dairy or oily foods, please) for the Clifton Place Garden compost heap. Do you part to reduce your weekly garbage footprint by dropping off your food scraps every Wednesday!
Composting 101: If you’d rather save your food scraps for yourself, CSA friends Sung Yung and Annie Hauck will be at the site to show us how to transform those scraps into nutrient rich compost for your home garden.
About our Farmers
The Fort Greene CSA was formed with the mission of creating affordability and accessibility to its shares, and has partnered with farmers who share that vision. Sergio Nolasco (pictured), the CSA’s vegetable-share farmer, originally comes from Mexico and has been farming in the United States for the past three years. All of his vegetables are produced without any pesticides or synthetic fertilizers on his 10 acre farm in Andover, NJ, a small town approximately 55 miles away from Fort Greene. Sergio grows more than 40 varieties of crops, including carrots, beets, lettuces, potatoes, a number of different types of squash, beets, tomatoes (including heirloom varieties), collards and other cooking greens, broccoli, callaloo, and even cantaloupes and watermelons.
His wife, Paz, also helps him on the farm and often prepares lunch for Sergio and his workers. Paz and Sergio have four children (two boys and two girls) and their family resides in nearby Hackettstown, NJ. Sergio also provides vegetables for CSAs in the South Bronx and Bushwick and sells goods at markets in Inwood, the South Bronx, and Long Island City. Sergio is committed to providing affordable, high quality food to people of all ethnic backgrounds regardless of income, which is why he chooses to deliver to these particular areas of New York City. In 2006, Sergio was featured in a New York Times article about a recent effort to preserve farmland in Westchester County, where he once farmed.
Red Jacket Orchards, run by the Nicholson family in Geneva, NY, will provide fruit shares. If Red Jacket sounds familiar to you, that’s because they sell their produce right here at the Fort Greene Greenmarket every Saturday, in addition to many other locations in all five boroughs. Red Jacket grows a variety of berries and stone fruits, and yummy ciders and juices. It is very difficult to grow 100% organic fruit in the Northeast, so Red Jacket operates an Integrated Pest Management System. With IPM, farmers work with natural methods of controlling pests in order to minimize the use of chemical pesticides. Some of these methods include proper soil preparation and testing, pest trapping, and conserving natural, beneficial enemies of pests.
An egg share is also in the works, and will come from Amantai Farm, located in Breinigsville, PA. Amantai is owned by Jorge Carmona, a Columbian immigrant, who produces a diverse vegetable crop, honey, and pastured eggs.
A Community Effort
CSAs represent a small but real solution to the problem of food access and security that so many neighborhoods in New York City face. It has been truly inspiring to see so many diverse elements of the community come together to help make this program a reality! A number of local organizations have provided invaluable support to the Fort Greene CSA, including Independence Community Foundation, Citizens Committee for NYC, Fort Greene SNAP, NYC Parks Department, Councilmember Letitia James’ Office, Greenmarket, Ingersoll and Whitman Tenant Associations, Fort Greene Association, and the organizing group of the Fort Greene Food Coop. The CSA is happy to return the favor – they will donate all leftover food items to Food Not Bombs, a local group that prepares meals for low-income and homeless individuals in the neighborhood on Saturdays. As mentioned earlier, the CSA will also be collecting food scraps that will be used to create compost the Clifton Place Garden.
Stay tuned for more food-related programming at the CSA distribution site this summer, including films, health screenings, and workshops on food education and advocacy! Information will be available at www.fortgreenescsa.org.