Thursday, July 16, 2009

Bringing the Farm to You by Kimberly Shibles

The issues surrounding food deserts and how to solve them can quickly add up to an overwhelming assignment. There are many fences that separate residents in food deserts from accessing fresh fruits and vegetables. Maybe we don't have to tackle the entire concern in one swoop, but we could start small.

With local farmers often struggling to sell their products competitively against big corporations who offer deals to large grocers, perhaps we can combat the market by working together. Residents in food deserts need fresh produce and local farmers have an abundance to offer.

In Cleveland, a company called City Fresh is doing what communities everywhere can partake in. City Fresh is a non-profit company that seeks to close the gap between those who need fresh produce and those who have fresh produce to offer. Through their line-up of volunteers, they have established neighborhood food centers called Fresh Stops. At these food centers, local patrons can feast their eyes on the freshest produce that Cleveland has to offer because the fruits and vegetables come directly from local farmers. City Fresh sponsors "community supported agriculture" by offering farmers upfront payment by groups of neighbors for produce at the beginning of the season and in exchange, the farmers provide fresh fruits and veggies each week to the community in "share bags" containing a mix of what's fresh that week.

There are many community supported agriculture programs across the country. To find one in your area, visit http://www.localharvest.org/and let the fresh fun begin!

Sources
City Fresh. (2009). Retrieved on July 16, 2009 from
http://cityfresh.org/

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