Category Archives: CSA

It’s a SNAP: Expanding Food Access in Lowell

World PEAS, and the larger New Entry Sustainable Food Project, are committed to serving under-resourced individuals in the greater Boston and Lowell areas in both the supply and demand side of commercial agriculture.  We support the farmers who grow food for our programs, while also working to expand access to these foods in communities in Lowell and East Boston.  This presents a common paradox in the world of sustainable agriculture- how do you support agricultural livelihoods, by providing the best price to our farmers for their crops, while also making these foods to be accessible for low-income populations?

This is a challenge that staff at New Entry and our fiscal sponsors, Community Teamwork, Inc. (CTI) and Tufts University, have been working to address with various programming models.  This season, after intensive planning and collaboration, World PEAS and CTI developed a pilot project- the SNAP CSA.  This program, which allows individuals receiving SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits, often referred to as food stamps, to purchase a small CSA share at half price.  The remaining half of the cost of the CSA share is subsidized by the support of generous donations by our shareholders and the Farmer’s Market Promotion Program.  The SNAP CSA initiative operated every Friday this season at the Lowell Farmers Market, where individuals registered for the program were able to pick up their shares and enjoy lettuce, greens, raspberries and more.

Participants were recruited for the program through various service agencies and through a wide range of multilingual promotional materials.  The CSA share the members receive is identical to the share offered to our general World PEAS customers, but SNAP CSA participants have the option to pay weekly for their subsidized shares, rather than needing to make an upfront investment for the entire season, which would be a sizeable financial barrier for participation.  While we hope to register more participants in the SNAP CSA program, the current program does serve to address New Entry’s mission to enhance community food security by expanding access to fresh, local food to all populations.  We believe that our CSA is particularly appropriate for SNAP recipients given the fact that we include many unique ethnic vegetables in our shares- providing culturally appropriate foods is a key tenant of community food security.

We are excited to develop our SNAP CSA program to reach even more individuals in the Lowell area and to hopefully expand further in coming years.  By helping under-resourced individuals develop commercial agricultural businesses that can in turn feed low-income populations in Lowell, we are hoping to develop networks of self-sufficiency and community development.

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Meet Our CSA Coordinator

Matthew Himmel

Matthew Himmel – standing, as usual, in a sea of CSA boxes.

Our Marketing Manager, Matthew Himmel, has had more to do with the phenomenal growth of New Entry’s World PEAS CSA than anyone. He’ll be leaving the project this year (for business school!), and New Entry is looking for someone to fill his very big shoes. For those who might not realize just what a big deal World PEAS has become, check out Adrien Bisson’s recent interview with Matthew.

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New Entry is Hiring!

Help New Entry Grow!Now Hiring

New Entry is looking for qualified candidates to join our energetic team that works to create new farmers, cultivate local produce, and conserve endangered farmland.  We are looking to fill two positions based in Lowell, MA to grow our programs.  Position descriptions and the application process is detailed below.

Please help spread the word!

CSA and Food Access Coordinator

Help make a difference for farmers, customers and  low-income communities by leading our CSA operations! Sadly, we will say “goodbye” to our existing CSA Coordinator (Matthew Himmel) who is moving on to another job and (hopefully!) to return to school. As a result, we are seeking a highly organized individual with proven leadership skills to coordinate our 475-member CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program.  responsibilities include: aassisting farmers in developing individual farmer production schedules; conducting outreach programs to reach potential customers and community volunteers; managing customer sales receipts and payments to farmers; managing staff and community volunteers; developing systems for produce quality assessment and farmer feedback; and expanding New Entry’s food access programs. A Bachelor’s degree is required, and a Master’s Degree is preferred. The candidate must have prior experience in supervising/ managing a produce operation or agricultural business . This is a permanent full-time position at our offices in Lowell and farms in Dracut, MA (4 miles from downtown Lowell).  Click here for the full job description.

Assistant CSA Coordinator

Help local farmers connect directly to customers by supervising our CSA operations! We are seeking a detail-oriented, organized, high-energy candidate to supervise quality control and produce packing operations for our 475-member CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program.  Responsibilities include supervising a team to pack CSA shares, working with farmers to assure quality control of produce delivered, picking up produce from nearby farms, delivering produce to distribution points around the Boston area, and assisting in coordinating production schedules and processing farmer payments. A Bachelor’s degree and experience in produce handling and quality assessment is preferred. This is a seasonal, full-time position from May through November based at our farms in Dracut, MA (4 miles from downtown Lowell).  Click here for the full job description.
TO APPLY: Interested applicants may download an application and submit with a resume and cover letter.

EMAIL:
HR@comteam.org – Human Resources
Please cc: nesfp@tufts.edu with your application materials.  Individuals of diverse backgrounds and cultures are encouraged to apply.

FAX:
(978) 937-5824

MAIL:
Community Teamwork, Inc.
Human Resources Office
155 Merrimack St.
Lowell, MA 01852

For any questions related to these positions, please email Project Director, Jennifer Hashley or Program and Finance Coordinator, Kimberley Fitch.

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Let Me Introduce Myself, and Your CSA Abundance

Let’s back up a little. My name is Angel, and I’m interning here at New Entry for the summer. I connected with this organization through the Friedman School of Nutrition at Tufts University. This fall, I will be starting a grad program in Agriculture, Food, and Environment at Tufts with hopes to build stronger food systems here in the US.
One of my responsibilities this summer (besides learning how to blog!) is helping Matthew, our CSA coordinator. I look forward to these days, packing shares for the World Peas Cooperative for distribution in East Boston and Andover. My first memory would have to be being greeted with big smiles and warm handshakes by some of the farmers. It was a hot, humid day and they had been out since early that morning harvesting for the distribution. Despite the weather and fatigue, they couldn’t contain their pride in the crops they were offering as they talked to Matthew and signed receipts. I walked into the cooler for the first time and was overwhelmed by the wonderful smell of just-harvested green onions, cilantro, and other greens. We try to pack carefully yet efficiently so Matthew can make his drive without hitting too much traffic.
While packing, we can’t help but exclaim every time we pull back the cover of a bushel basket, or open a tote about how beautiful the vegetables look, or how fantastic they smell. Every single time, it never fails. As I place beautiful vegetables in each box, I wonder how the shareholders feel when they pick up their share. Do they feel anticipation in uncovering the contents of their box? Do they wonder what recipe they will use to feature a certain green? Do their kids get involved and get excited too? I’d like to hear from you, share with us your CSA experience.

Seona at last Friday’s Lowell Market

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