We had a good group that came together including Martha Elder who has presented at WESPAC before (thanks to Tracy’s introduction). She is the founder of Second Chance Foods and was recently featured on Channel 12 News:
Here is Martha’s website: https://secondchancefoods.org/
She is doing very important food rescue work in our region and is getting fresh, healthy foods to those who need them most. She will reach out to WESPAC in the coming weeks at times when she needs additional support.
Antoinette has sent in a suggestion about reviewing Westchester County’s mapping of food deserts. Sonna will do some research to see if we can identify where these food deserts are located and how we can help address this.
Dan Wohl has invited the WESPAC Food Justice Committee to convene at his new workplace: the Greenhouse and Education Center at Denny Farrell Riverbank State Park, 679 Riverside Drive, New York, NY. He is working on developing food security networks between NYC and the Hudson Valley. Nada reached out to Chloe to see if she would like to bring her youth along for this outing.
Doug DeCandia gave us a substantial update about his current work: he is growing herbs and flowers with inmates at Sing Sing and Taconic prisons and is working with the mental health units. He shared some wonderful photos with Nada of his work that are available upon request. He and Jalal are exploring the idea of teaching a horticulture and nutrition course at Sing Sing. He discussed the challenges of working with prison authorities in terms of getting fresh produce from a local CSA into the prison. They are trying to see if the CSA produce could be added to the commissary list and could arrive in cardboard boxes to alleviate the security concerns of the prison authorities. It is all a work in progress. He will be in touch with us in the coming weeks and months at moments when he may need additional support for this important work. Additionally, this weekend he is offering a workshop on the necessity of building equity in our food system at this soil and nutrition conference in Massachusetts: https://soilandnutrition.org/
We also discussed if, at the county government level, we could get buy in from the county to have any county operated facility commit to purchasing food for their cafeteria from local, small scale Hudson Valley ecological farmers and growers. This change alone would be transformative for our local economy and would have a serious impact on reducing our carbon footprint and would help with climate change issues along with habitat and farm preservation and the promotion of biodiversity, the health of our precious pollinators and so much more.
We also discussed the utility of having a listing of all farms in Westchester County listing what items are grown and where they are made available. This list may already be available – we need to research. We would want to include here private property that is being leased to farmers to grow produce, flowers, herbs, raise animals, chickens, bee keeping etc.
Our December WESPAC Book Club gathering will take place on Tuesday, December 10th at 7pm with a discussion of “Can We Feed the World without Destroying It” by Eric Holt Giménez.