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Get it direct from farmer Sergio - Residents can sign up for farm fresh all-natural produce

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Throw down a little seed money and you could be receiving cardboard boxes full of fresh vegetables.

Fort Greene is joining some 60 neighborhoods citywide in joining the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, where residents sign on with a local rural farmer who grows and delivers them fresh vegetables practically to their door.

“CSA is a way for residents of a local community to purchase really fresh and affordable fruits and vegetables – things grown without pesticide by a local farmer for a lot less than they’re paying in local stores,” said Jen Datka, who as an Americorps Vista volunteer is coordinating the program for the first year.

Datka is also a member of the Downtown Brooklyn based FUREE (Families United for Racial & Economic Equality), which along with the Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership, is spearheading the program.

Datka said the Fort Greene CSA already contracted a small farmer who grows more than 40 varieties of fruits and vegetables without pesticides in Andover, New Jersey – 55 miles from Fort Greene.

The farmer’s name is Sergio Nolasco, originally from Mexico, who has been farming with pesticides or chemical fertilizers in the northeast for the past three years.

Under the contract, CSA members are ensured a good variety of vegetables, and while there is a small risk, the farmer does everything possible to protect the crop, Datka said.

Under the 22-week program, residents will be able to purchase full shares for between $300-$400 on a sliding scale, which includes five to seven different fruit and vegetable items on a weekly basis for a family of two or three people.

Residents in both Fort Greene and surrounding communities can also purchase half shares, where the produce is picked up every other week for between $150-$200 on a sliding scale.

The prices are for 22 weeks of deliveries (11 weeks for half shares) and do not include an administrative fee of $15.

Individuals with incomes below $25,000 and families with incomes below $35,000 are also eligible for low-cost shares that work out to less than $14 per week for full shares and about $7 per week for half shares.

The Fort Greene CSA will begin distribution Wednesday, June 11 at the northeast corner of Fort Greene Park near the Myrtle Avenue and Washington Park entrance.

The distribution will then take place every Wednesday for 22 weeks between 4-7:30 p.m. at the site.

“We’ve been doing outreach and trying to sign up as many low-income individuals as possible. There’s still a lot of infrastructure to get in place the first year,” said Datka, adding that 46 members have signed up so far.

Area residents wishing to sign up should call Datka at 852-2960 ext 312, or log onto www.fortgreenecsa.org.

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