The Astoria Community Supported Agriculture program that currently distributes out of the ARROW Community Center has had a partnership with ARROW since 2007, approved by Parks Chief of Recreation (Queens), Iris Rodriguez. Wednesday, Sept 19, our group of over 300 community members (a conservative number with actual closer to 600-800 members) was told we can no longer use the community space on Thursdays before 6PM due to the Parks Department's outsourcing of the space to the Central Queens Y. We have respected our relationship with ARROW for 5 years and have done nothing to deserve this immediate eviction. It is not just our 300+ members displaced with this eviction, but our farm and community partners: 40 NY State farms, 2 out-of-state farms, 2 local Queens businesses, and 3 local Queens charities like the Steinway Food Pantry, to whom we have donated thousands of dollars of organic produce for five years and serves 200+ families our food donation every week-- over 1,000 people total. We have shared this space for 5 years with no problems-- This eviction is unacceptable and we demand to be able to utilize and collaborate with OUR community center on Thursdays!
MORE: At 6PM on Wednesday, Sept 19, Astoria CSA was given verbal notice we were unable to utilize the ARROW Community Center before 6PM starting Thursday, Sept 27. No official phone call providing a reason was made regarding the eviction and it was only by chance we heard about the eviction (when a member stopped by to say hello).
HOW DOES THIS AFFECT YOU?
- You enjoy the food from Astoria CSA
- EVERY farm and partner delivery we work with (vegetables, fruit, meat, bread, cheese, milk, grains, coffee, beer, tortilla, and more) takes place BEFORE 3:30PM.
- NONE of our farms / partners can deliver after 3:30PM, many require delivery before noon (ARROW has always accepted and stored our deliveries).
- ARROW would still requires us to leave by 8PM. Even if our trucks could make later deliveries we CANNOT unload and distribute the quantity we handle in under 2 hours.
- ARROW provides us an indoor space free of charge, keeping our admin fee low.
- ARROW allows us STORAGE space so we can RECYCLE our farm boxes
- ARROW works with us to partner with Western Queens Compost Initiative so we can COMPOST
WHAT HAS ASTORIA CSA DONE FOR ARROW?
- 10-15% of our membership-- likely more-- is pulled direct from the ARROW Community by seeing our distribution occur and our own active volunteer recruitment at ARROW events.
- 10-15% of our members receive subsidized shares -- most are from the ARROW Community.
- Subsidized share members receive free nutrition counseling should they desire.
- Our events are open to the ARROW community at no charge -- that's FREE food/ nutrition education
- Leftover food is often distributed amongst ARROW staff, and sometimes after school children
-Steinway Food Pantry services 200+ families with our donated shares
WHY? Despite a positive relationship since 2007 with the ARROW Community Center, Astoria CSA's hours are being slashed. NYC Parks Department is outsourcing their after school program to the Central Queens Y. The agreement with the Y is that they are the only ones to have use of the facility between 3 and 6PM. Not only can we not use the space until 6PM but our farms and partners cannot deliver and store foods before 6PM.
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