The 2014 growing season brought the highest yields on record for the farm crew at Poughkeepsie Farm Project. Led by Farm Manager Leon Vehaba and former Assistant Farm Manager Jesica Clark, strategic planning and careful tending to our mere 12 acres of land amounted to an astounding 24% increase in harvested produce. The drive to produce more and higher quality fruits and vegetables was based not solely upon increasing membership (or filling your baskets with more food each week) but on a commitment to food justice in our community.
Food justice is the belief that everyone has the inherent right to access healthy, wholesome food. It is the farm’s unequivocal priority to merge its agricultural bounty with those in our community who are food insecure, and foster a sustainable means for all of our neighbors to fill their plates with produce. As with most deep routed historical challenges, there are many barriers to fostering a just food system, and Poughkeepsie Farm project is proud to be one of several organizations in the community striving towards this goal.
Food issues are embedded in daily life practices, and in order to create sustainable change in our food system, we must advocate for social change including equity in housing, transportation, education and the economy. As growers, we make it a priority to increase access to affordable, nutritious food. Through a working relationship with our dynamic partners Dutchess Outreach, Hudson River Housing, the Salvation Army, Bread of Life and Poughkeepsie Plenty, our efforts are amplified, and ever more fruitful for the food system of Poughkeepsie.
Last year we saw a 42% increase in our food donations from the previous year… and along with increased communication with our food share partners and hungry neighbors, we continue to push towards cultivating food justice in our community. Here’s to this year! May our harvest be ever more bountiful!
By Ellie Limpert