The Market Box program has been offered during harvest season (August - November) since 2010.
Greater Ithaca Activites Center, Southside Community Center, and Beverly J. Martin Elementary School have teamed up with the Ithaca Community Harvest to set up tables at before and after school pickup and dropoff. During these 'distribution events', a box or bag comparable to a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share is offered for zero to ten dollars sliding scale.
Local farms such as Youth Farm Project, Plowbreak Farm, Wood's Earth, Sacred Seed, and Stick and Stone have offered free or discounted produce, and even if we pay full price we get bulk discounts. Also, Southside Community Center and BJM Elementary have offered produce from their very own gardens. Through this collaboration, we have been able to offer local, organic produce in abundance for affordable prices to families. Over 85% of the families participating are vulnerable to food insecurity. We also offer samples, recipies, and nutrition information and engage in sustained dialogue with families about the kinds of veggies and fruits that they would like to see in their Market Boxes.
This program operates through grant money for staff time, and the money raised through sale of the Market Boxes is just enough to cover our produce budget. This is truly a community effort!