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Bedford Hills, Local Food, Organic, TABLE

Bring it to the TABLE

by Heather Flournoy
Can one woman change the way we eat and do business around here? It’s possible, especially when she is as passionate as Cynthia Brennan. Cynthia had already started on the mission to make Bedford a place where people can stroll to shop, eat and visit. She opened James, NY Gallery, — @page { size: 8.5in 11in; margin: 0.79in } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in } –>focused on responsible and sustainable goods, in Bedford Hills and is now up to her elbows (literally) working to open TABLE Local Market, a full-time farm market with prepared breakfast, lunch and dinner available.

WHAT?!– @page { size: 8.5in 11in; margin: 0.79in } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in } –> TABLE isn’t just another market. It’s a local food market that will create a supply of food that we don’t currently have. It’s a concept and it’s happening at the right time. It’s an act of dedication and caring and commitment and passion for the development of regional farms,ecologically sound growth, the improved health of community members and independence from foreign trading. It is a business model that could potentially be taken to other communities.

Here’s the idea in a nutshell: people can commit a portion of their grocery dollars for a year to the store. Cynthia and her discerning team do the work of sourcing and selecting local produce, meats, dairy, bakery and dry goods and getting them to the store. Her team then displays them for sale or utilizes them in their kitchen to prepare a meal so it’s waiting for you. We as the co-op customers have then participated in a project where the return on our investment is real change in the infrastructure of our community, and we get fantastic, convenient food in exchange. Cynthia’s vision is to keep costs in check by cutting out the dependence on middlemen and brokers by building relationships directly with farms. This way she estimates that their prices can compete even if at the moment local production costs are higher than production costs of industrialized agriculture and food grown in other regions (where there is usually not a livable wage). This is a way to direct our dollars to make positive change in the larger community.
She has a really great team of local resources including TABLE’s chef Jon Pratt, co-owner of Umami Cafe and Peter Pratt’s Inn, and a solid group of volunteers, advisors, and founding members who will help to establish TABLE. (There is still time to join as a Founding Member which offers exclusive benefits).

THE IMPLICATIONS: “I think we can change the market,” Cynthia says. “We can guarantee a market to the local farmers we are dealing with, and then we can start encouraging them to grow more of what we need, when we need and how we need it.” Right now there are area farmers looking at what to grow, when and to whom to sell. If TABLE jumps into action now, they can have a steady supply of regionally produced goods within the year, and hope that within several years the supply of currently “impossible” produce will be grown in the area. “If we develop a better end market, then we can help to further the supply chain for a regional, sustainable food shed .” In other words, if there is a market, there will be a supply developed. If TABLE can say to a farmer that they guarantee to buy 5 cases a week of tomatoes and 5 cases a week of peppers, in January, then maybe we’ll start seeing tomatoes and peppers grown locally in January.

From there it is nearly limitless. Check out this video on one of this year’s MacArthur Grant recipients who is farming in greenhouses year-round in Milwaukee to see how it could be done in NY: Will Allen, Urban Farmer. Area farmers might even want to go check out one of his projects and get one going here in Westchester County.

WHY? Because it’s necessary. Because we want this in our neighborhood. Because if we are conscious of our health and the health of our children, we want to eat food that isn’t injected, colored, pumped with hormones, abused, irradiated or sprayed with chemicals. Because it simply makes sense that farmland gets farmed and that farm work is valued and that farmers have dependable outlets for their goods, and that people know where their food came from, who grew it and how exactly it is grown. Because we all need to participate in making positive change happen.

WHERE? Babbit Road, Bedford Hills, NY.

WHEN? In January, 2009. Stay posted on TABLE’s website: http://www.tablelocalmarket.com The Founding Membership program is available to the first 200 families and offers exclusive benefits for helping to establish Table!

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About Heather Flournoy

I am a writer, social media connoisseur, environmentalist and professional marketer. My personal blog is KatonahGreen.com and my professional website is ReallySocialStrategies.com. I love people's stories, and a passionate cultivator of connections, both for myself and helping others to connect. Tell me who you are, what your story is, and I'll tell you who you should talk to. In my own view, I know some of the most interesting, colorful and profound people in the world. You know who you are. Besides all the above, I am proud to say I am a working class single mother who raised a beautiful daughter. I connect deeply with animals, especially horses. I love music, coffee shops, farmer's markets, growing my own food, sustainable agriculture, broad thinkers, the healing arts, and dive diners.

Discussion

4 thoughts on “Bring it to the TABLE

  1. Bring it to the Table sounds fantastic! My one concern is that there is no mention of organic certification of these crops and food supplies. How much of the food is grown or raised organically?

    David Richard

    Posted by David | November 5, 2008, 4:25 pm
  2. Bring it to the Table sounds fantastic! My one concern is that there is no mention of organic certification of these crops and food supplies. How much of the food is grown or raised organically?

    David Richard

    Posted by David | November 5, 2008, 4:25 pm
  3. Hi David- my concern as well, but after speaking at length with Cynthia, I believe their coop group feels strongly that organic growing methods are the only ecologically sound answer for the area, and they want to create a market that can have the clout to require that, and to help farmers achieve that standard. Right now, neither exists and so they are taking steps. Another piece of this would be to educate consumers, and that’s where I hope to participate.

    Heather

    Posted by Heather Flournoy | November 5, 2008, 5:25 pm
  4. Hi David- my concern as well, but after speaking at length with Cynthia, I believe their coop group feels strongly that organic growing methods are the only ecologically sound answer for the area, and they want to create a market that can have the clout to require that, and to help farmers achieve that standard. Right now, neither exists and so they are taking steps. Another piece of this would be to educate consumers, and that’s where I hope to participate.

    Heather

    Posted by Heather Flournoy | November 5, 2008, 5:25 pm

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