Key to Unadilla Community Farm’s mission is providing access to fresh produce for low-income and low-access communities through our veggie box delivery program — grown, cared for, harvested, and packed by the beginning farmer training program participants. The veggie box program addresses the need for fresh, accessible produce for the greater Edmeston area — a USDA low-income, low-access food desert, meaning an area with high poverty rates where the nearest supermarket is 10+ miles and a significant number of households don’t have a vehicle.
We work to fill the gap, by growing healthy fruits and veggies for the community. Every week from June to October, we deliver directly to families in the Edmeston area. Our veggie boxes are offered on a sliding scale — starting at $0, no questions asked — so families pay what they can afford. We offer several veggie box sizes, customizable payment plans, and can accept SNAP. We also allow bartering, such as donating wood chips to the farm in exchange for veggies.
In addition to delivering directly to families, the veggie box program consists of partnerships with local food banks across Central New York to provide free produce for their clients. We partner with the Edmeston Community Cupboard to provide free fresh produce for 80 food boxes delivered to families weekly. We also donate regularly to the Cooperstown and Utica Food Pantries and to the Sidney Central School District Farm to School Program.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the precariousness of the food system and the economy. Even in normal times, food insecurity is a pressing issue for Edmeston families, who have to drive 40 minutes to get to the nearest supermarket to pick up groceries. On top of that, due to COVID-related job layoffs, our community members are struggling to pay the bills and make ends meet. This situation underscores the importance of our program to provide local food to local people, delivered directly to their doorstep. Our delivery-based model reduces human contact to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and it saves families time and money, so they don’t have to spend hours to get food, or pay a “driver” to take them to a supermarket.