I met Pamela a few weeks ago when I was doing my required volunteer shift for my CSA farm share (Community Supported Agriculture). Living in Harlem, NYC has been such an amazing, urban experience for this white girl from Minnesota. I love feeling so connected to so much history of the city. But there isn't the hugest selection of fresh produce, and certainly not high quality organic produce.
At the New Year, along with deciding to run a marathon, I decided I wanted to change my relationship with food, and decided to "Eat Food". Real food. Not food-like substances. (Much of my philosophy of food has come from Michael Pollan's books, primarily In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto). So I searched out a local CSA. Basically a farmer will offer a "share" of his yield to the public. Typically it's a box of vegetables, sometimes fruit, and dairy and meat can be included. You buy in to a membership and then get a whole ton of fresh food each week from whatever is freshest on the farm that day. You can find your own local CSA by clicking here.
So I joined my local CSA, Roxbury Farms, which drops off on Thursdays at a school about 5 blocks from my apartment in Harlem. I get so much food that I have to actively work towards consuming it. I have loved the challenge that this provides. What do you do with 9 pounds of tomatoes? I have also loved that it has made me more aware of the seasons, the weather, about timeliness, the passage of time...
As part of your membership, each share owner works at the distribution a few shifts throughout the season. I was fortunate enough to work with Pamela, and her awesome son Max. While moving around crates of kale and onions, we just chatted about life and the things we're involved in, and it turns out Pamela runs an organization a lot like my current job! She is one of the founders of Kidberry, and I am in love with what they are doing in my neighborhood!
It is really lovely when you meet someone for an hour or so and get to share the things that are important in your life. Really, the only connection we had was we live in the same neighborhood and both enjoy Food (Real Food always gets a capital F). But we started talking and the walls start falling down, and it turns out we share much in common. I am grateful for the two hours we spent with our veggies, and especially grateful for her generosity in donating to the cause.
Harlem is a better place because of generous and creative individuals like Pamela and her partners at Kidberry! I wish them all the success in the world, and can't wait for the last stretch of the marathon, when I run through MY neighborhood, and get to see all my neighbors cheering me on! Me, and the other 34,999 runners... But especially me!