Beginning in April 2020, the USWA expanded its community service to include a Fresh Food Program as a direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is our intention to reach neighborhoods who have been disproportionately impacted and provide live food that has never seen the inside of a can, box or factory. To that end we have partnered with The Snug Harbor Heritage Farm which was established in 2012 to help feed, inspire, and educate the local community. It is located on the North Shore of Staten Island where an overwhelming number of COVID cases have been discovered and/or treated. The Heritage Farm has grown an average of 15,000 pounds of produce each season over the past six seasons for a total 45 tons. More than 10% of their produce is contributed to soup kitchens and food pantries, and to education programs. This is where the USWA has identified opportunity to deliver fresh produce directly to those in need.
To afford this opportunity to our community the USWA has partnered with The New York City Council and The Staten Island Foundation to purchase shares of the farm, created a safe online and virtual interactive approach to promoting this initiative and provide transportation services for a contactless delivery of goods. We also set up in local parks on The North Shore of Staten Island once a month throughout Summer to ensure visibility and accessibility to our produce. Our weekly offer is supplemented with free local fruit and food education seminars based on attendance.