Local/State

Local program brings fresh produce to area families

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A program launched last summer to provide fresh food to hundreds of North Philadelphia families has surpassed most expectations.

The Farm to Families program works in partnership with a network of community-service providers like St. Christopher's Foundation for Children to purchase, package and deliver farm fresh foods to North Philadelphia neighborhoods.

The Garden Center at 18th and Frankford is just one of seven distribution sites.

"We just got a free box of produce," said Nick Silva. "The 10th visit always gets a free box of produce."

Nick Silva always always brings his dog, Sammy and daughter, Amelia.

"She likes squished peas, squash and sweet potatoes. She loves sweet potatoes," said Nick.

On average, five new people register for the program every week, but most are returning customers.

"So it's very impressive, the devotion to the program, because they really value the healthy fresh produce that the Farm to Families program offers them," said Community Engagement Director Carla Castillo.

The fruits and veggies come from farms all over the region.

Weekly food shares are offered in $10 to $15 boxes brimming with produce like red peppers, lettuce, squash, pineapples, blueberries and scallions.

The program includes on-site cooking demonstrations and taste tests.

Two-year-old Talia Goldstein has become quite adventurous, trying new foods. One of her favorites surprised mom and dad.

"Brussel sprouts, from here a couple of weeks ago," said Talia's mom. "We were really impressed."

"I think everyone likes fresh food, but when you make it accessible and affordable, which the Farm to Families program does, I think families say that is something that can be a part of my life, part of what I do on a daily and weekly basis," said Jan Shaeffer, St. Christopher's Foundation.

One thousand families now participate in the Farm to Families program, and it is open year round.

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Tags:
food, farming, health care, north philadelphia, philadelphia, local/state
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