Multimedia, North America, Slideshow, TerraViva United Nations

New York Farmers Aid the City’s Hungry

Jul 25 2012 (IPS) - At a time when big grocery stores like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods are attracting scores of hungry customers, many local family-run farms are fighting to keep afloat.

“We stay in business because some people do get it,” and are prepared to invest in local produce, Jessica Migliorelli, a New York farmer, told IPS.

Nonetheless, many products are left over from each day of sales.

City Harvest, a food rescue organisation in partnership with GrowNYC, a non-profit environmental group, uses the leftover produce to help the more than a million people in desperate need of food within the five boroughs of New York.

The scorching summer heat poses challenges for the Migliorelli family-run farm and other Grow NYC farmers selling their products at the Union Square farmer’s market.

David Hughes of GrowNYC told IPS, “The weather…is always a challenge for our producers. Many simply scale back on the volume they bring to market. They also use shade cloth, lots of ice, spritzer bottles and refrigerated box trucks to keep products cold.”

Associate Director of Food Sourcing at City Harvest Lisa Spazato said City Harvest has maintained a steady supply of produce from the GrowNYC farmers that participate in donating food that does not sell by the end of the day.

The partnership that developed between City Harvest and GrowNYC is explained by the latter’s David Sherman as a “natural relationship; obviously we have amazing seasonal produce that is perishable at the end of a long market day. What a wonderful thing for New Yorkers to give back to other New Yorkers at an end of a market day.”

In this pictorial story, IPS United Nations Multimedia Correspondent Shari Nijman shows how the food rescue process literally takes a team to happen.

The Union Square greenmarket is open Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 8:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.

Click here to view the short video interview was filmed by Shari Nijman.

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  • Sandyclaws

    It is all well and good that the hungry get fed but….what about the farmers. This years crops are meager anyway, if they keep coming up short, they will just eventually quit. Then everybody loses. Somebody has to pay for the crops given away. Price of goods will either go up, less if any produce will be brought to the market, or the farmer will quit farming. Farmers can’t afford to farm for free. Farms costs money. People are so detached from reality, that they don’t shop at the open air markets because they have been conditioned to shop in supermarkets.

  • glorrierose

    Of course farmers need to be able to cover their own costs and to make a bit of money to pay their own bills. But this story isn’t about farmers giving away something that they could profit from. It’s about giving away food at the end of the day rather than let it rot in a trash bin, where the only hungry who would get fed would be the rodents.

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