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Veggie Van Provides Locally Grown Produce To Westchester Families

Through the grant locally-grown food will be transported by the Veggie Van and made available for purchase at affordable rates.

Editor's Note: Thanks to Lucille Munz for sharing the news with Patch.

There is a new Veggie Van in town as Friends of Hilltop Hanover Farm, the non-profit organization in Yorktown, launches a pilot program to bring the Farm's fresh produce to schools in Westchester County.

Through a grant from the Westchester Community Foundation "Food Shed" program, the Friends of Hilltop Hanover Farm will be providing produce to 50 families for two 6-week sessions: a fall season starting on Sept. 27 and a winter session starting in January, 2013.

Hilltop Hanover Farm is a 187-acre Westchester County-owned crop farm and environmental center whose farming production and educational classes are managed by the Friends of Hilltop Hanover Farm and Environmental Center Inc.

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Through the grant, fresh, healthy, locally-grown food will be transported by the Veggie Van and made available for purchase at affordable rates, according to Hilltop Hanover Farm.

The Brookside Elementary School in Ossining has an enrollment of nearly 800 children; 51 percent of them receive free or reduced lunch rates, according to the Farm's manager. The Brookside Elementary School has agreed to become the host site for this pilot program, which would allow Hilltop Hanover and Westchester County to educate 800 children and their families on the importance of good nutrition and sustainable agriculture.

In addition to providing fresh produce to 50 families per week; Hilltop Hanover will provide recipes and explain the nutritional value of the produce. This will be done after school and in six assembly programs for the entire school population.

The recipes will be posted on the school’s website and 10 percent off coupons will be provided for all the children at the school to encourage visiting Hilltop Hanover Farm with their families, where they can harvest their own vegetables.

The grant will also allow Hilltop Hanover Farm to modify its existing hoop house so that winter food production is possible at farm. 

Hilltop Hanover Farm says: "This pilot program highlights the benefits of public/private partnerships and maximizes financial and intellectual resources. One of the goals of this program is to create a model that can be duplicated at other locations including community centers and religious institutions while creating a venue for other farmers in the region to strengthen our local food shed."

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