Students launch community agriculture efforts at NYU

February 4, 2013

Fresh, local food is now coming to NYU students in the form of a community-supported agriculture program. After a two-year long hiatus, the CSAatNYU is back and is currently operating out of the Green House at Seventh Street residence hall.

A Community Supported Agriculture is an organization where members purchase a share of food from a local farm for an entire season. The size of shares and items they include can vary.

The original CSAatNYU had its home in the Kimmel Center for University Life but then moved to St. Mark’s Church and became the Washington Square CSA.

NYU students decided to bring CSA back this year under the direction of volunteer coordinators, including CAS senior Jason Lindy. To do so, they reached out to the WSCSA.

According to Margaret Weinberg, Gallatin freshman and the group’s social media outreach coordinator, CSAatNYU has 18 shares in total. One belongs to the Green House, another belongs to the Student Food Cooperative at NYU, and the other 16 are divided between 30 different people.

“This project has been very successful, and we are incredibly pleased,” Weinberg said. “There was a moment where we were worried we wouldn’t get enough shares, but we did and were able to pull it off. Not only do we have enough shares, but there are a lot of people benefiting from the program because most students decided to split shares.”

CSAatNYU collects its food from Norwich Meadows Farm, a farm in upstate New York. The group sources from the same place as the WSCSA, which still maintains its primary location in St. Mark’s Church. The group’s distribution model also mimics that of the WSCSA.

Adrienne Haeberle, a coordinator for the WSCSA, believes having a CSA within NYU is beneficial for students.

“Nourishment is grounding, and with the hyper-frenetic pace of a university lifestyle, the experience of selecting your vegetables, thinking of what you’re going to prepare, cooking a meal and enjoying a meal is a terrific way to keep yourself sane and in touch with what really matters in life,” Haeberle said. “Good food, good people and environmental stewardship.”

Although there is some continuity in what food each share holds, most shares, which are distributed once a month, offer different food each time.

Rita Chapot, an NYU-Poly sophomore, bought a share from CSAatNYU and said she enjoys experimenting with the food she receives.

“[The CSA] has really pushed me to diversify my cooking because I have all these veggies I’ve never even heard of before,” Chapot said. “The best surprise so far has been finding the Jerusalem Artichoke.”

The group aims to expand to other non-dining residence halls within the next few semesters. They hope to incorporate CSA into the Lafayette Street, Greenwich Hotel, Broome Street and Gramercy Green residence halls, among others.

They also welcome the involvement of more NYU students.

“CSAs are a good thing,” Lindy said. “It maximizes the profit that goes directly to small farmers. It is cheap for kids with not a lot of disposable income. It’s healthy, seasonal and organic. Ultimately we’d like CSAs to become just an integrated part of how students get their food in residence halls.”

A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Feb. 4 print edition. Tatiana is university editor. Email her at tbaez@nyunews.com. 

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