A great travesty of our day is the use of food stamps: the fast food and convenience store lobby has convinced Congress that Big Macs and Doritos and Coke are nutritious. Local and state initiatives are trying to make good food more available to the poor
If you’ve ever visited a farm on CSA pickup day, with overstuffed baskets of vegetables all in a row, the word “bountiful” might come to mind. But in many cases that bounty remains unfamiliar to low-income families unable to pay the upfront costs the community-supported agriculture (CSA) model typically entails.
Fortunately, in communities throughout New England, that model has been shifting, still giving farmers the financial boost they need while also spreading the fresh-produce love to residents who typically wouldn’t have access.
One great example is the Farm Share Program led by the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Hampshire (NOFA-NH). “It began in 2017 and is based on the longstanding successful model of our sister chapter, NOFA-VT,” said operations manager Nikki Kolb.
The programs in both Vermont and New Hampshire aim to reduce the cost of local CSA shares for residents in need of financial assistance, while at the same time ensuring farmers have the monetary support to be successful.
In New Hampshire, “It was initially entirely funded by a one-year grant, with the goal of developing a sustainable, annual program,” said Kolb. It has now grown into an ongoing program funded primarily through a yearly “Share the Bounty Day” fundraiser.
“Local grocers, restaurants, and other community partners contribute a percentage of sales from the day or donate a flat amount to the Farm Share Program,” Kolb said. Support also comes from other sponsors and individual donors who contribute throughout the year.