East Boston Neighborhood Health Center’s Let’s Get Movin’ Program Kicks Off Community-Supported Agriculture Program

The East Boston Neighborhood Health Center’s (EBNHC) Let’s Get Movin’ program is teaming up with local farms again this year to bring the Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) program to Eastie.

At last week’s Eagle Hill Civic Association (EHCA) meeting EBNHC’s Gabrielle Witham said the Health Center is set to kick off the CSA and registering interested clients now.

Witham said that starting at just $24.75  per week, residents can sign up for the CSA program that begins in June. After signing up, residents can pick up their fresh fruits and vegetables each Thursday afternoons from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m. at the Let’s Get Movin’ Office in the WIC building located at 120 Liverpool St., East Boston. The program will run for 20 weeks from June 14 through October 25.

“Again we are teaming up with Farmer Dave’s farm to bring veggies and fruit that will change with the season,” said Witham.

To sign up, residents can contact Witham 617-568-4783 or [email protected]

Witham said the price points this year will be $24.75 per week or $495 per season for a small box of vegetables and $21.25 per week or $425 for the season for fresh fruit. The regular vegetable share will be $33.75 per week or $675 for the season. Each order has enough vegetables to fill one or two grocery bags. Residents can order more per week for additional costs and the site will accept checks, cash, credit cards and EBT/SNAP/Food Stamps.

For the first  weeks of the season the shares are smaller in volume consisting of strawberries and apples then in July, August, and September, the variety and volume are the largest, and the shares contain stone fruits, melons, and berries. By late September and early October, each share usually contains several varieties of apples and/or pears.

CSA’s are an alternative, locally based economic model of agriculture and food distribution. A CSA also refers to a particular network or association of individuals who have pledged to support one or more local farms, with growers and consumers sharing the risks and benefits of food production.

CSA members or subscribers pay at the onset of the growing season for a share of the anticipated harvest. Once harvesting begins, they receive weekly shares of vegetables and fruit, in a vegetable box scheme.

CSAs generally focus on the production of high quality foods for a local community, often using organic or biodynamic farming methods, and a shared risk membership–marketing structure. This kind of farming operates with a much greater degree of involvement of consumers and other stakeholders than usual — resulting in a stronger consumer-producer relationship.

According to studies, CSAs benefit the community in which they are established. A large majority of CSAs organize social or educational community events. Events include potlucks, farm tours, events for children of shareholders, and educational opportunities for the community and local schools. CSAs often donate unclaimed shares, organize donations from shareholders, donate a portion of their harvest to food banks, and have scholarships. Many CSAs also offer work-trade programs for low-income members of the community.

Witham added that the Farmer’s Market will return to Central Square after spending three years at Lewis Mall during Central Square’s rehabilitation project.

“We just feel that Central Square is a more centrally located and easier for the entire community to access,” said Witham

The Eastie Farmers Market will kickoff on Wednesday, July 11, at 3 p.m. and run every Wednesday, through October 17.

The kickoff will include a speaking program from Eastie’s elected officials and EBNHC administrators. After the kickoff there will be kids activities, give-a-ways and more.

Each year the Farmers Market sees more and more new customers and a variety of vendors both old and new. Each week throughout the summer there are special activities like Zumba, music, bike safety lessons and local celebrity chef cook-offs to bring attention to the Farmers Market and get more people to participate in the annual tradition.

Eastie’s Farmers Market began when organizers at the Health Center’s Let’s Get Movin’ program asked how could they help families in the community increase the amount of fresh fruit and vegetables in their diets.

The market brings produce picked that day at Massachusetts’s farms to Eastie. The selection changes throughout the season, from lettuce and greens in early summer to apples and squashes in the fall. At the Market, vendors feature produce important to the many cultures represented by the community.

For a third year in a row the Farmers Market will include the Veronica Robles Cultural Center. The Cultural Center will perform “Dancing Elotes”.

Dancing Elotes is a tribute to life and joyful youthful spirits. The project will include a bike-cart selling elotes, traditionally prepared corn served on the street in Mexico, as a literal and conceptual vehicle for cross-cultural culinary, dance and sculptural experiences at the Farmers Market.

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