Submitted by Mary Alice Reilly for World PEAS
The World PEAS program offers yummy local fruit and veggie farm shares from mid-June through October to the Bedford community, with pick-up on Wednesdays at First Parish in Bedford.
If you are interested in purchasing a share this summer or helping to cover the cost for shares in low-income communities, visit our website at www.ctiworldpeascsa.org. You can also contact the World PEAS Food Hub and Food Access Coordinator Mary Alice Reilly at Mary.Reilly@tufts,edu or 978-654-6745 to learn more about our program. Happy Eating!
About World PEAS
The World PEAS Food Hub is an innovative local foods program that provides fresh, sustainably grown CSA farm shares to the greater Boston area. Our local, delicious fruits and vegetables are delivered to over 20 locations around Boston (including Bedford!) with the aim to empower farmers to obtain long-term economic self-reliance and success. World PEAS connects a cohort of 25+ beginning, immigrant and refugee farmers to customers through our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and other institutional buyers, providing critical support to limited-resource farmers who benefit from a broader customer base and increased farm incomes.
World PEAS is a program of the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project (New Entry), a non-profit based in Lowell, Massachusetts whose mission is “to improve local and regional food systems by training the next generation of farmers to produce food that is sustainable, nutritious, and culturally-appropriate.” New Entry trains aspiring farmers by providing opportunities for advancement and business training, access to farm equipment and farmland, technical assistance training on organic farming practices, and marketing assistance through World PEAS.
Many farmers trained by New Entry are immigrants or refugees with aspirations to make a living and support their families through careers in agriculture. These farmers often have limited English-speaking skills, and limited knowledge, time, or available transportation to thrive in local food markets on their own. The World PEAS Food Hub actively markets multicultural crop varieties grown by these farmers, ensuring that growers can sell healthy foods representative of their distinct cultures (i.e., Amaranth: a grain similar in taste and texture to Quinoa that is popular in certain West African countries).
Take it from one of our farmers, Seona Ban Ngufor. Seona emigrated from Cameroon and wished to farm in the U.S. as she had done in her native country. However, she faced numerous challenges like finding affordable, arable farmland and learning to grow produce in the New England climate. Seona credits New Entry with helping her to become a successful farmer.
New Entry helped her with crop planning, business planning, and marketing. Seona graduated from New Entry’s Farm Business Planning Course in 2007, farmed on our incubator farm site for several years, and now leases farmland in Stowe, MA. She sells her produce to World PEAS, to immigrant communities in Lowell, and at farmer’s markets in Lowell, Lynn, and Mattapan. She grows a variety of amazing produce including amaranth, sweet potatoes, greens, bell peppers, tomatoes, eggplant and cabbage. She continues to participate in the World PEAS program because she enjoys supplying her healthy, organically grown produce to the community.
The World PEAS CSA is one of the largest sales outlets for our farmers, accounting for 50% or more of their gross farm incomes with some farmers making upwards of $10,000 through the season! World PEAS CSA shareholders support our farmers by pledging in advance to participate in the CSA and help cover spring operation costs on their farms. In return, these shareholders receive an incredible variety of fresh fruits and veggies throughout the season. CSAs are becoming a popular outlet to connect to local farmers and the local food movement, but World PEAS is not just any CSA program. World PEAS also increases availability of local produce to those at risk for food insecurity through our Share-a-Share Program. The Share-a-Share program offers low-cost fruits and vegetables to low-income communities around Boston by partnering with community organizations to provide reduced-cost CSA shares and bulk produce to families, seniors, school-aged children, and other at-risk groups. By making produce affordable in low-income communities, World PEAS increases food access in limited-resource communities while helping our farmers earn extra income in more diverse markets.