Greensgrow has been an innovative leader in the urban farming movement ever since it was founded in 1997, and this summer is no different. The Kensington farm/CSA/farm market complex recently was awarded a Local Food Promotion Planning grant through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and they are putting it to good use!
The goal of the grant is to generate extra income for other local farms (like Weavers Way’s) by supporting the purchase of “seconds” — produce that would otherwise be unsellable. Greensgrow is then using their community kitchen to process the produce into value-added products for their CSA and other food-access programs. “We wanted to find a way around haggling on price with our farmers, while still making local food affordable,” said Greensgrow Executive Director Ryan Kuck. “This will hopefully bring new revenue to these farms and allow us to distribute more local food to our neighborhoods.”
Greensgrow’s food access programs manager reached out to me over the winter to see if we would be interested in participating, and I responded with an emphatic yes! Before we knew it, was July and we had 480 row-feet of spring collards that were no longer top quality and needed to be uprooted to make room for the fall planting. Greensgrow said they had a use for our edible, but less-than-perfect, collards and within a week, we packed and delivered 200 pounds of collards, plus 74 pounds of carrots and 18 pounds of cucumbers.
Carolynn Angle, Greensgrow’s Community Kitchen manager, blanched and froze the collards and carrots for use during the winter. She made a shrub out of the cucumbers to sell at the Greensgrow farmstand.
Last month, we made a second delivery of 120 pounds of kale, as well as 40 pounds of various types of eggplant.
So far this year, we have sold $792 worth of produce to Greensgrow that would otherwise have been composted. We are thrilled to be partnering with Greensgrow on this type of entrepreneurial project that reduces food waste and strengthens the local food economy.
Greensgrow engages our neighborhoods in cultivating social entrepreneurship, urban agriculture and community greening. To learn more about Greensgrow, visit www.greensgrow.org.