Making sure that Bronx residents have access to quality fruits and vegetables is a priority for Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. Today, Borough President Diaz launched a Bronx-based, senior-focused Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) initiative, as part of the “#Not62” Campaign for a Healthier Bronx.
Borough President Diaz and the Mary Mitchell Family & Youth Center are joining forces this summer to bring fresh produce to seniors all over the borough. This program will deliver 4-6 pound bags of locally grown produce once per week to senior citizens all over the borough, in partnership with local senior centers. This program will provide seniors with access to affordable groceries, help combat food deserts and promote healthier diet choices.
“Our office is committed to expanding food options for everyone in the borough. Earlier this year we succeeded in making New York State eligible for the SNAP online program, we continue our fight for food access with this new initiative,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “I want to thank the Mary Mitchell Family & Youth Center for their partnership on this initiative, without their help this program would not be possible.”
“This new program is an extension of La Canasta, a food buying club in The Bronx, founded by the Mary Mitchell Family and Youth Center,” said Mary Mitchell Family & Youth Center Director Heidi Hynes. “We want to create a movement to change personal habits, policies and an unjust food system. It will take a huge effort to transform the system and build a healthy environment but we believe that the people of The Bronx are up for the challenge.”
The initiative kicked-off today with its first round of deliveries. There are currently five senior centers enrolled and a total of 58 confirmed deliveries across the borough. Seniors participating in the program place their orders with an affiliated senior center a week in advance. The following week they receive a 4-6 pound delivered to the center, for a total $8.00, paid either by cash or EBT.
“Many of the elderly in our borough are on fixed incomes, and the intense heat of the summer months can make mobility difficult. I want to do everything I can to reduce the barriers to food access. This summer will be our first time trying this out, we hope that we can make it a permanent fixture in the borough,” said Borough President Diaz.
“Nothing thrills me more to see the influx of healthy, fresh, local, affordable food into our Bronx community! Access to healthy, fresh affordable food is a basic human right and I'm so proud of Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.'s efforts to show everyone that the Bronx CAN - Change Attitudes Now!,” said Stephen Ritz, Educator and Founder of Green Bronx Machine.
If you are interested in having this program come to a senior center near you, please contact Paula Richter, Borough President Diaz’s Director of Health and Human Services, prichter@BronxBP.nyc.gov.
Photos from the launch can be viewed at https://flic.kr/s/aHsm1ndbiX.