Sustainable Community Farming Initiative

Problem

So few people have access to -- or enough income to afford -- fresh, organic, local vegetables. Many children go hungry and don't receive the sustenance they need to grow and excel in school. Additionally, the use of pesticides and hormones in subsidized agribusiness and the fossil fuels expended bringing those products to market are substantial. All of this means that the environmental costs of modern agriculture are enormous and people's ability to acquire healthy foods is too costly to their economic well being and our environment.

Solution

Mayor Dan Drew is helping create a grassroots community farming co-op that will source fresh, local, organic vegetables for low prices on public land and make them available to the entire community. This initiative simultaneously combats climate change, pesticide and hormone use, while increasing sustainability and economic fairness.. The city of Middletown has already issued a call for proposals from farmers throughout the state for what they would grow and how they would price the associated co-op shares. The City will lease publicly-owned farmland to these farmers at a low rate to keep costs down. They will also appoint a grassroots community review board to review proposals and make recommendations about the most efficacious amongst them. This approach will ensure that a sense of market competition is brought into the proposal and pricing process and will give the people of the community the final word in what will be planted and harvested and how much it will cost. Middletown has also garnered interest from the local community college to partner in some type of conservation-related educational initiative related to the project. 


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