Fresh Food on a Fixed Income
"You know a social security check can only go so far, especially in these hard times," says Enida Arroyo, Resident Manager of Casa Otonal's senior housing facility. Fortunately Casa's 120+ residents don't have to spend their checks entirely on gas or bus fare to a grocery store, or on the high-priced food they'll find there. Instead, they'll pay $3 for a bag of farm-fresh, organic food worth $10 dollars. That's roughly 25% less than the cost of the same food at a grocery store thanks to CitySeed's community supported market (CSM) program and Foundation donors.
CitySeed is a New Haven-based organization created in 2004 to help City residents have access to fresh food. CitySeed pioneered the first of four Farmers' Markets in New Haven. Its flagship in Wooster Square became the first in the state to accept EBT/Food Stamps. Foundation grants made additional markets possible in New Haven's Fair Haven, Edgewood Park and Downtown areas. Each market now redeems food stamps and senior/elderly coupons, in addition to coupons from the US Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). The markets sell a variety of food including produce, dairy, meat and shellfish.
"The CSM program was created as an answer to a problem," says Jennifer McTiernan, Co-Founder and formerExecutive Director of CitySeed Inc. "Farmers weren't making enough money from the market-goers to make it worth their time." So CitySeed devised a way to supplement the revenue farmers were primarily getting from food stamp and WIC coupon recipients. They sold shares of food to employees at organizations like Fair Haven Community Health Clinic, a nearby law firm, Yale University and others. The employees buy shares of, and pay retail prices for, farm-fresh market food, thereby guaranteeing revenue for the farmers' season.
Grants from The Foundation to CitySeed were made possible by donors like Grace Bourne (1902 -1983). Grace had an impressive career at First Bank in New Haven as one of the first female Vice Presidents. The Grace E. Bourne Fund was established with a bequest of $20,000. Her preference was that distributions from the Fund be used for elderly persons…such as the 62 – 85 year-old Casa Otonal residents living on a fixed income and other market customers. In addition to the gift Grace made to The Foundation, she made provisions in her will for her niece and other family members. Her generosity also created a scholarship fund at Vassar College, her alma mater, in memory of her mother, Annie.
You too can help others by create a lasting legacy through a permanent endowment that benefits your community for generations. To learn more, please contact Sharon Cappetta at 203-777-7071.