Olivette Riverside Community and Farm Shares Harvest Bounty With Western North Carolina Nonprofits Battling Food Insecurity
Olivette Riverside Community and Farm, Western North Carolina’s first and only “agrihood” built around a working four-season organic farm, is working to alleviate food insecurity in Western North Carolina with four unique programs.
In addition to providing fresh produce for Olivette residents and others who purchase Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares, the farm is working to end food insecurity through these outreach efforts:
1. Supporting ASAP’s Double Snap program — Olivette provides fresh produce for the Southern Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project’s Double SNAP for Fruits and Vegetables, and recently donated almost $5,300 to the program from its HarvestFest fundraiser. SNAP is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. ASAP’s Double SNAP effort offers a match on dollars spent by SNAP customers at participating farmers markets with tokens that can be used for produce. SNAP customers who spend $10 with their EBT cards get $10 in SNAP tokens plus $10 in Farm Fresh Bucks, which can be spent with any vendor for fruits and vegetables. About 150 people turned out for Olivette’s HarvestFest ASAP Double Snap Benefit, a celebration of local farmers, community, and music held on Sept. 11.
2. The Equal Plates Project is Olivette’s most recent venture. Olivette partnered with We Give a Share, a local nonprofit connecting chefs, farms, and communities to serve food to people in need. We Give a Share pays Western North Carolina farms and producers to provide fresh food to the Southside Kitchen at the Arthur R. Edington Education & Career Center. Southside Kitchen uses those products to prepare 1,500 meals per week that are offered free of charge to homebound and senior Asheville Housing Authority residents. Olivette residents raised $5,000 that will go directly to Olivette Farm to be used for meals distributed by the project. Olivette’s farmers will work with the chef directly and plan crops according to the project’s needs, providing $500 worth of produce monthly for 10 months of the year.
3. Sharing Is Caring — In this program that started two years ago, Olivette residents donate CSA shares that are distributed to local nonprofits Haywood Street Congregation and BeLoved. “This year we are donating 55 CSA shares: 31 to Haywood and 24 to BeLoved,” says Olivette Farmer Daniel Pettus. “Haywood and BeLoved identify families and individuals that are in most need of the produce and distribute the shares to them weekly.” Olivette delivers these shares directly to Haywood and BeLoved during its CSA season, which runs for 20 weeks from mid-May through mid-October.
4. Gleaning — Olivette works with two local nonprofits, St. Andrews Society as well as Bounty and Soul, to make sure all the produce grown at Olivette Farm gets to people in need. “Gleaning works in several ways: harvesting from the fields directly and picking up produce that was not sold by the farm via their normal avenues,” Pettus says. “These organizations will come and glean from the fields in beds that are soon to be transitioned into cover crop or a new crop, and the farm will donate produce that would otherwise be composted.”
While the Sharing is Caring CSA ends mid-October and will pick up again mid-May 2023, the Equal Plates project and gleaning distribution are year-round programs, Pettus says.
About: Olivette Riverside Community and Farm near Asheville, N.C., is Western North Carolina’s first “agrihood,” built around a four-season organic farm and designed to connect people with nature, community, and their food.
To request an interview with Olivette’s farmers, contact publicist Michelle Tennant Nicholson: Michelle@WasabiPublicity.com or 828-749-3200
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