Farm share pilot program on the table

By Erika Mahoney

June 17, 2013 Updated Jun 17, 2013 at 11:50 PM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Fresh foods could soon be coming to residents' neighborhoods that lack direct access to supermarkets.

Binghamton's center city and north side have been selected to try out a new program that revolves around the idea of community supported agriculture for low income families.

Every week, local farms would deliver boxes of fresh produce to a convenient pick up location, connecting rural farmers to urban families who use food stamps.

Binghamton recently secured one of four grant awards through the Governor's Fresh Connects Program to help implement the idea locally. It's call the Farm Share Around the Corner Pilot Project.

The idea behind the program is to combat childhood obesity and provide fresh foods to areas without grocery stores.

The director of Binghamton's Planning, Housing and Community Development Department says they are ready to kick in $10,000 from the federally supported Community Development Block Grant fund.

The total cost for the project is expected to be approximately $44,000.

"The great thing is that not only are we going to be working with a lot of families, we're also partnering with a school district," said Tarik Abdelazim, director of Planning, Housing and Community Development. "And so we will be delivering the boxes there and then the Cornell Cooperative Extension will be doing cooking classes in the school district. It's a really innovative program. I think that's why the state looked at us as one of four communities to pilot this demonstration project."

A program coordinator has already been hired and the drop off location will be at Theodore Roosevelt Elementary.

Several farms have also signed on and families are being recruited.

Abdelazim hopes the program can set a good example and then expand to other communities in the state.

City Council is scheduled to vote on the program at their first meeting in July.