Farmers start produce co-op in Warren


East Bay residents who want to eat right and want their produce to come from local fields have a new choice starting later this year.

New Urban Farmers, a Pawtucket-based farming group that last year signed a deal with the town to lease and farm town property behind Hugh Cole School, is setting up a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program in Warren.

The program works like this: Residents sign up for a share of the total produce grown by New Urban Farmers over the course of the growing season. Offerings (there are many, click here for the brochure) can be picked up locally once a week. The money goes directly to the farmers, and residents who sign up get fresh, locally grown produce. Since it's grown by New Urban Farmers, it's grown organically and sustainably.

Folks who want to participate can choose from a wide range of packages based on the amount they need every week, with rates as low as $10 per week including a special plan for seniors. That includes fresh produce, baked goods, local fresh eggs and more. The group is still working on securing a Warren pick-up site.

One of New Urban Farmers' top priorities, and the reason for its founding, is to serve the underserved and overlooked. To that end, residents who use WIC and EBT can use their benefits to pay for a CSA share. Also, the group is working to bring more farmer's market vouchers to Warren, as those in need only get one a year.

"When you become a CSA member, you form a relationship with the people who grow your food," reads the Farmers' website. "In return we'll commit to raising your food with sustainable and environmentally responsible practices."

New Urban Farmers is based in Pawtucket, and last year signed the first-ever lease of its kind with the Town of Warren, marking the first time a municipality in Rhode Island has leased land to a farming outfit. New Urban Farmers plan to grow traditional staples on their Warren land, as well as berries, quince, persimmons and mushrooms.


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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.