Bringing Local Food to New Yorkers Through an Alternative CSA Model

by Deirdre Appel
Part of the Community Spotlight Series

Name: Local Roots NYC

What They Do: Local Roots NYC—a hybrid modernized CSA (community-supported agriculture) market and customized farmers market—is revolutionizing New Yorkers’ relationship with food and re-inspiring the culture of cooking culture with seasonal food. Members receive produce directly from Local Roots NYC’s vetted local farmers located in Brooklyn, upstate NY, and PA, and the farmers gain the financial stability of receiving investments early in the growing season. Like a farmers’ market, Local Roots offers a way for members to engage socially as they shop by offering recipes and storage tips at the market.

How They Do It: Local Roots NYC markets are conveniently located throughout Brooklyn and Manhattan in vibrant meeting places once a week, whether it be a neighborhood bar, cafe, or a place of work. There are currently more than 20 locations and the number is growing. The organization also offers home delivery for those who prefer the convenience of having fresh, seasonal food from local farms delivered to their door. As in other traditional CSA programs, members subscribe and prepay for an entire season. What members receive each week is based on the type of subscription or “share” they have chosen and curated based on what’s best in season and can create complete, well-balanced meals.

Customers can select from the essential bundle, butcher’s bundle, or vegetarian bundle. Additional options, such as mushrooms, fruit, eggs, bread or cheese, can be added into the bundles. Local Roots specializes in produce that’s extremely flavorful, taste tested on the farm and the city.

In addition to their weekly pop up markets, Local Roots offers cooking tips, culinary education classes, and lectures to encourage a sense of community among its members. Information on events is made available through emails to their members and on their website.

Mission: The goal of Local Roots NYC is to make local food more convenient and more accessible to New York City residents. It is built on a value system that honors high-quality foods, community, empowerment, local economies, innovation, active optimism, transparency, convenience, kindness, and authenticity. Their mission is to heal the food system and inspire a home cooking culture in NYC.

Latest project/campaign: Strongly committed to fighting food waste, the organization now offers a Zero Food Waste share of produce that would normally be discarded to customers. Additionally, they provide culinary classes on how to cook all parts of the vegetable from stem to leaf as a way to further combat waste. So far their Zero Food Waste project has diverted 5.5 thousand pounds of food from compost.

Major Funding: Sales from memberships and classes

Profit/nonprofit: Profit

Annual Revenue: N/A

Interesting fact about how they are working to positively affect the food system:  Local Roots is the only Farm Share in NYC that offers 4 seasons-worth of fresh, local produce. Summer, fall, and winter each last three months, while the spring season is two months long.

FACT SHEET

Location: 12 Hall Street Brooklyn New York, 11205
Core Programs: Community Supported Agriculture, customized farmers markets, engaging and fun cooking workshops
Number of staff: 6
Number of volunteers: 10
Areas served: Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens
Year Started: 2011
Director/Founder:  Wen-Jay Ying
Contact Information: [email protected]
Website: http://www.localrootsnyc.com   

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