AFTEE
AFTEE

AFTEE Supports Quail Hill’s Innovative Farm to Pantry Initiative

New program underwrites support for Quail Hill Farm produce to be provided to The Center’s Food Pantry program during the 2020 growing season.

All For The East End (AFTEE) and the Long Island Community Foundation (LICF) announce a new grant of $25,000 to underwrite a pilot Farm to Food Pantry program that will provide fresh, locally grown produce to those in need as a result of the ongoing health and economic crisis brought on by Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic.

For over 65 years, the Bridgehampton Child Care & Recreational Center has served local families and senior citizens in our community through a diverse set of programming that provides education and enrichment to children, teens, and adults, as well as an onsite food pantry.

Thanks to the grant, Quail Hill Farm, a stewardship project of the Peconic Land Trust, will provide produce to The Center, at no cost that would otherwise have been sold to local restaurants, also hit hard by the pandemic. The farm, one of the original Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms in the U.S., is located in Amagansett, New York, on land donated to the Peconic Land Trust by Deborah Ann Light. Since it was established in 1990, Quail Hill Farm has grown to 35 acres, serving over 250 families.  It cultivates crops using organic practices on Deep Lane and Town Lane in Amagansett.

Through this new Farm to Food Pantry program, The Center will provide more food to additional families in need by redirecting funds normally spent on fresh produce toward the purchase of shelf stable goods, meat and dairy, personal household goods and toiletries. In addition, produce that is harvested and delivered same-day or next-day straight from a local farm will offer the benefit of a longer shelf life compared to produce that is trucked greater distances.  Plus, it supports the local economy with a much smaller carbon footprint.

The program began to take shape when a member of Quail Hill Farm made a $5,000 gift to initiate a way to get fresh produce from the farm to people in need.  After reaching out to The Center about a potential collaboration, Trust and farm staff put together a budget that would cover the costs to provide fresh produce to The Center over an 18-week period for 350 – 450 people per week. The estimated budget is $55,000.  The AFTEE grant will underwrite 9 weeks of the program, covering the direct costs of planting, harvesting, packaging, and delivering the produce.  With $30,000 now in hand, the Trust is currently seeking to raise the $25,000 balance from private donors to cover the full 18-week program.

“We are delighted to help this ambitious pilot program and we hope it serves as a model for other farms to participate in helping our pantries,” said AFTEE Board President, Claudia Pilato.  “In less than three months, AFTEE has raised close to $1-million dollars and we have given more than half of it to the East End pantries and other organizations that have stepped forward to help our community during the Pandemic.  Our hope is that the Quail Hill Farm to pantry program will grow each year and it will be joined by other farms providing fresh local produce to those who do not have easy access to healthy food.”

“While often invisible to some East End residents and vacationers, hunger is an unfortunate reality for countless individuals in our community.  The pandemic has caused an exponential spike in the number of people that are in dire need of such a basic human necessity … food,” said David Okorn, Executive Director, Long Island Community Foundation. The Long Island Community Foundation is proud to be partnering with AFTEE to address food insecurity in the five East End Towns.  This pilot program between Quail Hill Farm and Bridgehampton Childcare provides such a unique opportunity to assist nearly 500 people a week with nutritious fresh produce.”

“We are so grateful to AFTEE and LICF for their willingness to think outside the box and fund this unique and collaborative pilot program between the Trust, our Quail Hill Farm, and The Center. This has happened very quickly, and we are proud to be helping the people most in need within our community by providing them with fresh, local food.  It is a win-win for everyone and serves as a model for other farms and organizations to work together during this unprecedented crisis,” said Trust President John V.H. Halsey.

“We are so excited about this unique community partnership. Before the pandemic, our food pantry was feeding approximately 70 individuals per month. We are now feeding about 450 individuals per week. The need is great, and the heart of this community is rising to the occasion. We are so grateful to AFTEE and LICF. This will be such a blessing for our families. Thank you,” said Bonnie Michelle Cannon, Executive Director, BHCCRC

“I’m deeply honored to embark on this new project with Bonnie and the entire staff at The Center. We have examined our role as a community farm during this pandemic, a time that has broadened inequities for so many. By digging deeper into this mission, we saw an opportunity to broaden our distribution while committing to food justice and racial equity in our local food system. Furthermore, while most mixed-vegetable growers on the South Fork orient their production schedule around a narrow summertime marketing window, we are now able to extend that window considerably, while feeding local families. It’s a win-win,” said Layton Guenther, Director, Quail Hill Farm.

Peconic Land Trust and Quail Hill Farm: Founded in 1983, Peconic Land Trust conserves Long Island’s working farms, natural lands, and heritage. Since its inception, the nonprofit Trust has worked conscientiously with landowners, communities, all levels of government, partner organizations, and donors, to conserve over 13,000 acres of land on Long Island. While working to conserve the productive farms, watersheds, woodlands, and beachfront of Long Island, the Trust is also protecting the unique rural heritage and natural resources of the region. Established in 1990, The Trust’s Quail Hill Farm is on 35 acres generously donated to the Trust by Deborah Ann Light in Amagansett, NY. Over the farm’s history, more than 120 farm apprentices have been trained – with many of those still engaged in farming today. Training apprentices and providing share members with informational resources on the issues of soil health, our seed supply, food security and sustainable, and organic farming practices is a central part of the farm’s mission. For more information visit peconiclandtrust.org.

AFTEE, a unique 501(c)(3) organization, was founded in 2012 and is working to support the non-profit community of Long Island’s East End by providing an accessible source of funding.  The Feed the Need Campaign is currently addressing issues of food instability and other concerns raised by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Long Island Community Foundation partners with AFTEE to manage the grant process to ensure transparency, and administers the fund disbursements.  The AFTEE grant advisory committee includes one member from each of the five East End towns.  Learn more about the work of AFTEE and the Long Island Community Foundation.

For more information or to make a donation visit www.aftee.org or write info@aftee.org