Thursday, October 23, 2008

Welcome to Turf News, a space designed to highlight the work of Turf, a new environmental stewardship project located in the Parkchester neigborhood of south central Bronx. Turf's mission is to provide residents tools and resources to improve the health of their communities.

In many urban neighborhoods health issues are often link to the lack of fresh affordable foods and farmland that produce healthy foods. Unlike rural communities, many urban neighborhoods have few or no farmlands to offer residents fresh food daily. Instead, they depend heavily on small grocery stores, supermarkets, and restaurants for the food. In Parkchester these food systems are valuable to residents. However, if a resident buys fruits and vegetables from their neighborhood grocery store, there is no guarantee that the produce is fresh or has the same amount of nutrients as farm fresh produce.

Fortunately, there are groups throughout the city that are addressing the lack of farm fresh foods in urban communities by creating urban gardens, local greenmarkets and CSAs, but we need more.
From December 2008—June 2009, residents in Parkchester and Turf volunteers will make an assessment of the community’s current food system to begin the process of creating healthy sustainable food systems in Parkchester. Turf is inviting friends to describe their neighborhood's current food system and let us know if it is satisfactory (a healthy system). If not, still describe it and let us know if you would be interested in getting some help from Turf. Please make sure you mention your city and state. Thanks!


  1. This was a very interesting read.

    I live in Lithonia, Ga [20 minutes outside of Atlanta. Our rural community offers us a wide array of choices to shop at from local supermarkets, to farmersmarkets [VERY FRESH PRODUCE] and exclusive natural food products / stores. This provides quality, fresh products that albeit cost more, the taste and cut are a distinct difference in the way we feel. I don't mind paying more for the nutrients it provides to my body. There is more care given to these farm grown products. I think because people are now getting more aware of healthy living and healthy choices, we are driven to make better decisions even if that means we drive a little further. Everything in Atlanta is in an arms reach of what you need. So the quality and comfort of what we need is just 20-50 miles of what our desire is.

    Even with the accessiblity of these products, I find that residents will still take the low road and pay for things that can ultimately harm us. So it is a matter of education or the lack there of. No, really it's a matter of choice.

    Some of the local supermarkets do offer farm fresh produce but it is actually hidden away so that consumers don't readily see this which is a shame.

    In Atlanta, we have people who actively advocate for better living and eating and offer nutrition classes, allow you to sample products and provide you literature on healthy choices, fresh produce,etc.

    My thoughts are that Turf may try to model some of the larger cities and see what has worked for them and try to elimulate those features in their area. If the demand from the community is there, change will come.

    Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to voice the Atlanta area!!!!

  2. What a wonderful and necessary idea! Taking ownership of this issue from the inside out is commendable. What I'd give to be a teen again and being exposed to so much positive learning and action so early! Good luck!!!

  3. I live in Washington Heights in New York. In my neighborhood, there is a Gristedes,an Associated Market - a common supermarket chain found throughout the city - and a few, smaller locally-owned mini-supermarkets. Generally speaking, unless you make enough to spend close to $100/person/week on food, you ain't eatin' well. Needless to say, I shop at the Associated - spending close to $150/week on food for me and my partner. The fruit and veggies are ok - not great - and the same goes for the meat. There aren't really many other viable options; The 40-block trip to Fairway is just not happening on a Sunday evening.

    The reality is that for most people, it's too much hassle to have to travel helluv far and pay helluv money to get good food, when substandard (but tasty and cheap!) food is so nearby. And really, we shouldn't have to.