Pick up some free, fresh produce with your books at Broome County Public Library
Next time residents check out a book from the Broome County Public Library, they can also pick up some fresh veggies.
There is now a fridge full of fruit and vegetables just next to the main desk at the Broome County Public Library. The free, local produce comes from the library’s new Farm to Library program.
“This is a wonderful way to display and capture the attention of children and entice them to take fresh veggies and tie that back into the health benefits of eating this good stuff,” said Mike Harris, or “Farmer Mike", owner of Lone Maple Farm, where much of the produce is grown.
The idea is to familiarize local kids and families who come to the library with fresh vegetables and fruit.
Josias Bartrem, the director of the library, said they have been stocking the fridge twice a week since July. He said the produce disappears within just a couple of hours.
“One of the most exciting parts about it, for me, and that I've heard from the other folks who are involved in this, is to watch kids coming in for our summer reading program and helping themselves to fresh produce as snacks,” Bartrem said.
The library will also collaborate with the Cornell Cooperative Extension and Volunteers Improving Neighborhood Environments (VINES) to offer classes where local families can learn how to prepare meals from fresh produce.
Funding for the program comes from the Community Foundation of South Central New York. Most of the produce comes from local farms and donations from the Community Hunger Outreach Warehouse (CHOW).
The library is encouraging residents who have gardens in the area to donate any extra vegetables they grow this summer to the fridge.