Yonkers may be a sprawling, gritty city, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room within its confines for growing farm-fresh produce. The Get Fresh Yonkers Farm Co-Op, started in October 2012 by Groundwork Hudson Valley (groundworkhv.org), was created to make organically grown, healthy, and affordable produce available to the residents of southwest Yonkers.
Groundwork Hudson Valley is a nonprofit that aims to revitalize communities by promoting health and sustainability, “reclaiming urban spaces by turning them into green surfaces.” The organization received several generous land grants, including one from New York State at Philipse Manor Hall, where its 32 “citizen farmers” (the goal is to have 80 within 2 years) plant and weed assigned plots and work in shifts to water and harvest. Each pays $155 a year (WIC accepted) and, in exchange, receives a summer and a winter CSA share (about $1,000 worth of food delivered over 11 months). Additionally, the farmers get instructions in organic gardening, receive invitations for free trips (e.g., the American Museum of Natural History, Sisters Hill Farm) and parties (the Sower’s Ball and the Harvest Ball). The co-op also runs a Get Fresh Farmers’ Market held every Saturday from June 1 through October 26, 10 am to 4 pm, at Van der Donck Park. Some of the most popular products at the market are lettuce, sugar snap peas, and kale smoothies. According to Curt Collier, Groundwork Hudson Valley deputy director and one of the co-op’s founders, “If you can show [customers] what to do with it, how to cook with it, and how delicious it is, they’ll buy it.”
Collier believes strongly in getting young people involved in urban agriculture. Groundwork has worked with several local colleges, including Manhattan College and Sarah Lawrence College, in order to educate those who are interested in this field. “I want Westchester County to become a big agricultural county like it once was,” says Collier.
Are you looking to participate in the co-op? Contact Curt Collier at (914) 375-2151 or firstname.lastname@example.org