Still Growing – Literally – Old Brooklyn Style!

We surprised a lot of readers last summer with our story about Rising Harvest Farms in Old Brooklyn. Who could imagine a 2.3-acre farm in the heart of the city?
But with eight crop fields, 24 plots, a chicken coop and two greenhouses, the farm—a project of
Koinonia Homes, an organization providing residential, vocational and support services for more than 450 disabled citizens—was a rousing success. “We sold 65 Market Basket shares last year,” says Jerry DeLiberato, Koinonia’s Vice President of Business Development, “and already we’ve sold out all 120 slots for 2014.”
Tractor
Market Basket is part of the nationwide network of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs in which anyone can subscribe for a share, or half-share, and receive ultra-fresh food every week. “Rising Harvest Farms is a great place to get fresh, healthy vegetables,” says Gus Frangos, President of the Cuyahoga Land Bank. “It also is a shining example of service to the community and to our disabled citizens.”
But subscribers occasionally drop out of the program—and the good news is, you can join the waiting list at
www.RisingHarvestFarms.org for shares that might become available. The weekly harvest can include eggs, salad greens, kale, spinach, red and green scallions, basil—whatever crops and foods are ready that week—as well as locally-made food products like pastas from Ohio City Pasta. Proceeds pay for the farm’s upkeep and wages for workers who are clients of Koinonia Homes.
Rising Harvest wants to add two new hoop houses—low tunnel shaped greenhouses where farm workers can grow spinach, lettuces and any other crops they need. The hoop houses are pricey, though—between $18,000 and $20,000 each—but they make it possible to raise and sell fresh produce year-round.
And, as of January, 1, Rising Harvest now participates in Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), the USDA’s national standards-setting program that sets  food safety procedures for small farms.
“We’ve documented our processes all along,” DeLiberato says, “and it’s a lot of work—but it helps us to implement procedures that will make us more efficient.”
“We feel the GAP program is where things are going for all small farms,” he adds. “It’s especially meaningful for Rising Harvest because it will help us get access to prospective customers we wouldn’t otherwise connect with, such as food brokers who deliver food to schools.”
So the more they grow, the more they grow. Rising Harvest recently hosted an Open House to showcase the farm and recruit volunteers;  you can find more details at
www.RisingHarvestFarms.org.

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  1. Pingback: Still Growing – Literally – Old Brooklyn Style! | Gus Frangos