With the closure of the Crown Heights Associated Supermarket due to building development and fears of a food desert for the years it is a shuttered, a new farmstand has set up shop to cater to residents’ fresh food needs.
The new GrowNYC farmstand will be selling fresh seasonal vegetables every Friday at the Nostrand Ave and Sullivan Place site, and although it won’t replace the supermarket, local stakeholders hope it will alleviate some of the loss, Brooklyn Paper reports.
“As a board we knew that we had to do something,” Community Board 9 Chair Fred Baptiste told Brooklyn Paper. The stand was organized by Community Board 9, Brooklyn Borough Hall, Senator Zellnor Myrie, Assemblymember Diana Richardson and Councilmember Laurie Cumbo.
“We went into it understanding that this is not replacing the supermarket,” Baptiste said. “But what we wanted to do was try to mitigate some of that so people aren’t travelling 17 blocks out of their way to find fresh produce.”
The farmstand is the first of its kind in the neighborhood and Jessica Douglas, senior manager of food access initiatives at Grow NYC, told Brooklyn Paper it was long time coming.
“We haven’t had a farm stand in this neighborhood but we have been very interested in setting something like that up here,” Douglas said. “There is definitely a need for fresh fruits and vegetables in this neighborhood.”
Community Board 9 District Manager Dante Arnwine said he hoped the farmstand, which also operates a compost drop off, was the just one of many initiatives started to boost healthy food access in the Crown following the supermarket’s closure.
“It’s one small way to mitigate the loss of the supermarket, but we can’t just stop with the farmstand. We have to make sure that we work together as partners in this community to promote healthy food education,” he said.
The farmstand accepts cash, cards and benefits such as SNAP and EBT. Benefit cards give users an additional $2 for every $2 spent at the stand with a limit of $10.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said his mission was to expand access to healthy produce in communities throughout Brooklyn, particularly those that have historically been denied healthier options. “The opening of this new farmstand in Crown Heights sends a powerful message that we are turning the page on that history, and taking concrete steps to build a healthier borough and city.”
The stand, which is accompanied by a mobile COVID-19 testing and vaccination van, is open from 9:00am through 3:00pm every Friday.