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NYCCAH AmeriCorps Volunteer Talks About CSAs on Not Eating Out in New York

May 4, 2010

Maia Raposo, an AmeriCorps member working on organizing mixed-income CSAs for the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, was featured on the blog Not Eating Out in New York.  She discussed NYCCAH’s newest CSA in Central Brooklyn.

Maia Raposo is a CSA Development & Nutrition Education associate at the New York City Coalition Against Hunger (and makes a mean homemade barbecue sauce for grilled chicken, too). She has been organizing the Central Brooklyn CSA, one of the new ones in town this year, and took a moment to explain here how and why it was started up. The deadline to apply for this one is tomorrow, though! Check out how cheap the prices of this CSA’s shares are, and note how they’re scaled depending on how much income the member makes. I don’t know what’s a more democratic, un-elite way to get food than that.

What was it like getting a new CSA up and running this year? Where did you start?

MP: It’s extremely exciting to start a CSA from scratch. The best part about it is getting the community members excited about the project. We’re working within a church that is French-speaking, and made up of a large immigrant population, many of whom have never heard of CSA before. Getting them interested in the concept and recruiting community members has been the most rewarding part thus far.

Central Brooklyn CSA share prices are tiered by household income level. Why did you decide on this?

This CSA is part of the Farm Fresh Initiative, a project run by the New York City Coalition Against Hunger.  This breakdown in pricing is how all of our CSAs run (We also partner with Long Island City and West Harlem). Our main objective is to make CSAs affordable for people regardless of income level;  low-income members are usually left out of purchasing CSA shares because of the up-front cost. NYCCAH’s program allows low-income members to pay using their food stamps and by paying weekly. This ensures that everyone who is interested in joining, can!

What farm is going to be serving this CSA, and what can we expect from them?

The farm that we are partnering with is MimoMex Farm in Goshen NY.  This farm is run by Martin and Gaudencia Rodriguez; they are the first graduates of the New Farmer Development Program to own their own farm land. The NFDP trains immigrants with agricultural experience on farming in the Northeast. They specialize in Mexican produce, but we can also expect lots of standard NYS CSA crops like kale, broccoli, eggplant, and pumpkins!

Besides the food, what’s most rewarding about being part of a CSA to you?

Definitely becoming closer with your community. It’s been so wonderful to see the diverse group of people coming together and working so hard on this project. Every CSA I’ve been a part of has resulted in new friends and great memories. The season hasn’t even started yet, and I can already see that happening within our members. It’s so awesome!

Read the whole post here.

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