Oh yes…. the big question these days is ‘do you know where your food comes from?’ This could be more important than do I have enough money to retire on in my later years.
Farm Fresh Rhode Island is a brilliant, ever expanding 501c3 non-profit organization that is the epitome of organized local multi-farm output. They have been feeding tens of thousands of people locally like families, schools, restaurants, caterers, Inns, B&Bs, elderly, low income, and the RI Food Bank.
The latest in food documentaries “Food Inc” and “The Future of Food” are chilling revelations of mass food production here in the US and has had some impact on our decisions about what and where we buy our food, in unprecedented numbers.
Concerned citizens are in serious action mode and voting with their feet – back to the farm. It’s nothing short of magnificent. It’s the first movement backwards that we’re really cheering for – back to our food roots, so to speak.
Farm Fresh RI farmers grow a plethora of beautiful fresh vegetables and fruit like tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, corn, potatoes, green beans, lettuces, rhubarb, fresh herbs and much, much more like fresh flowers, grains, eggs, honey, spreads, baked goods, wines, pet food. OMG, it’s a veggie girls dream.
However, it’s not just veggies. There are farmers that provide meat (beef and pork), eggs and other fresh dairy products like fresh cheese, and yogurts. In the winter you can buy maple syrup, wreaths, trees and still a variety of veggies.
Farm Fresh RI has a wealth of programs for customers, kids, teens, volunteers, partner farmers that keep everyone coming back for more. You could learn about composting (or bring your composting material there), knife sharpening, great recipes, pick your own (PYO) fruit and veggies, and seasonal food fests.
The most thrilling and cleverly organized program they have is called Market Mobile – an on-line shopping tool for businesses. Hannah Mellion, Food System Activator for Farm Fresh RI, said, “Chefs, schools, hospitals and other institutions can place orders for specific items on-line which is incredibly convenient, especially for a busy restaurant. The 40 farms in the Market Mobile program deliver to our hub here in Pawtucket every Wednesday, and then the orders are delivered to our customers the next day.” She adds, “it’s pretty busy here on Wednesdays. Our next goal is to get deliveries out two days a week.”
Their program called Fresh Bucks, which is their form of currency, allows SNAP/EBT users to make their purchases without using cash. Last year’s Healthy Foods, Healthy Families program was very successful by reaching out to low income families providing them with tools to shop and cook affordable fresh food from the Farmers Market.
Most farmers have what is called CSA programs (Community Supported Agriculture) which is a great value for a ‘Foodie’ (or veggie girl). Fresh Farm RI has many locations to pick up your fresh goodies each week. A CSA is a great program that allows the consumer to contract with a farmer and pay their farmer directly.
Their Market Basket program is similar to the CSA but the goods are from multiple farms with assorted produce in a box ready to go at the Armory Farmer’s Market. The CSA and Market Basket subscription programs allow the farmers to get their capital money upfront to plant for the season’s bounty.
Imagine that – pay your farmer directly for your locally grown produce. You must visit their website – it is beautiful. Nice job, Noah. (Noah Fulmer, Executive Director and creative leader for their website). It’s full of information on hundreds of farms, food and events, and updated by the minute and worthy of a bookmark. www.farmfresh.org Take a look at who’s buying local.
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