For the first time since its inception in 1975, the Queens County Farm Museum will open a farmstand in partnership with a healthcare organization to bring fresh produce to communities in need.
Queens Farm has partnered with Jamaica Hospital Medical Center to be the farmstand provider for the hospital. The farmstand will be located at 134-20 Jamaica Ave. in front of the hospitals “Axel” Building. It will be open for 23 consecutive weeks, weather permitting, on Thursdays from June 13 through Nov. 14, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“We are proud to partner with Jamaica Hospital to help them bring farm fresh produce to neighborhoods in need,” said Jennifer Walden Weprin, executive director of Queens County Farm Museum. “Our missions align so this partnership makes a lot of sense. We plan to expand upon this work to support other food-insecure communities and communities that are defined as food swamps.”
Queens Farm grows over 80 varieties of fruits and vegetables annually, including 6,000 pounds of tomatoes, 4,000 pounds of zucchini, 2,500 pounds of eggplant and 1,600 pounds of winter squash.
The Jamaica Hospital farmstand will mirror the farmstand at the historic site in Floral Park. Queens Farm has expanded its agricultural operations with a New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets Grant in addition to implementing its own land-use plans to be able to cultivate more land to feed more New Yorkers. The produce at the Jamaica Hospital farmstand will travel just under eight miles from Queens Farm — where it is grown — to Jamaica.
According to a Public Health Solutions report released in March 2018, Jamaica is one of three documented “food swamps” in Queens where fast food and junk food outlets outnumber healthy alternatives in neighborhoods. Access to healthy food is lacking with only one supermarket for every five fast food restaurants and every six corner stores.
Jamaica Hospital is committed to providing health and wellness programs to its service area and found a natural partner with Queens County Farm Museum for the program.
“Jamaica Hospital understands that our commitment to the health of the community isn’t limited just to treating people when they get sick, but it also includes offering prevention and wellness initiatives to keep them healthy,” states Ann Corrigan, director of planning for Jamaica Hospital. “We feel as if we have found a natural partner for that work in Queens County Farm Museum.”
The farmstand at Jamaica Hospital will accept multiple forms of nutrition assistance benefits such as SNAP/EBT, WIC, FMNP Checks, Health Bucks Fresh Connect Checks along with cash, credit and debit cards. In addition to farm-fresh seasonal produce grown at the Queens County Farm Museum, the farmstand will feature live cooking demonstrations and free recipes provided by Cornell University Cooperative Extension NYC and health screenings provided by Jamaica Hospital.
More information can be found at queensfarm.org.