Flushing community relaunches food co-op to support local families during COVID-19 recovery

Screen Shot 2020-05-04 at 2.35.50 PM
Photo via Flushing CSA

For more than 25 years, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) has become a popular way for consumers to buy local seasonal food directly from a farmer.

And on May 1, Flushing residents relaunched Flushing CSA, a volunteer cooperative that seeks to expand healthier and sustainable food options for families during the COVID-19 crisis. 

The Flushing CSA includes locals such as Golden Earthworm Organic Farm, Just Food, the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce and Queens Macaroni Kid. 

The COVID-19 pandemic is wreaking havoc throughout the American food system. Tens of millions of pounds of fruits and vegetables are rotting in the fields as food banks across the nation scramble to meet a massive surge in demand. The two-pronged disaster has deprived farmers of billions of dollars in revenue while millions of jobless Americans struggle to feed their families.

The Flushing CSA helps to leverage a stable food supply chain and maintain a critical connection with farmers, while also supporting local jobs and creating important community relationships. 

Shares in the 2020 Flushing CSA Season will cost $598 a year and provide 25 weeks of vegetables — or about $24 a week of food — enough to feed an entire family. Confidential financial assistance is available to those who cannot afford the full season price thanks to the generosity of local business owners and CSA members who donate to support families in need.

“Flushing CSA is a fantastic value. It seems a bit high upfront, but breaks down to less than $25 a week — $25 at a farmers market doesn’t buy five to seven varieties of organic vegetables, but that’s what we get every week from our CSA,” said Emily Griffin Sheahan, publisher of Flushing Queens Macaroni Kid. 

Members can pick up their share weekly on Thursday evening at a central neighborhood location. Flushing CSA vegetables will come directly from the Golden Earthworm Organic Farm in Long Island and are delivered to members — with no middle man or additional handling of food. This system reduces the risk of contamination as well as limits the carbon footprint and fits the “100 mile” criteria for “locavores” who prefer to eat food grown by local farmers. 

Kate Feuer, a longstanding member and resident, looks forward to the start of every season with excitement and seeing the familiar faces of members that make up the Flushing CSA family. 

“There is no doubt that the fresh organic vegetables obtained through the CSA have encouraged the healthy and adventurous eating habits of my three young children,” Feuer said. “Since joining Flushing CSA, I have had the joy of experiencing vegetables that I had never eaten before and it has encouraged me to get really creative in the kitchen. I feel good about supporting a local organic farm with the most virtuous intentions.” 

John Choe, executive director of the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce, said by relaunching Flushing CSA they hope to empower neighbors to learn about ecology and demand a healthier, more vital food system that supports local economies.

“We may not only eat healthier and help our community become more resilient through Flushing CSA, but also support a local economy less dependent on breakdowns in the global supply chain,” Choe said.

The deadline to join the Flushing CSA is Friday, May 15. The application form to become a member is available at www.flushingcsa.com.