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US: Newburgh growers take on complex issues of food insecurity in the city

Hidden away, on a slope at the corner of Carpenter and Gidney avenues is an oasis in Newburgh. The vegetable plots in raised beds and long rows, tall and colorful flower gardens, and surrounding trees that screen the farm dull the noises from traffic just a few blocks away on Route 9W.

In this two-acre section of Downing Park thousands of pounds of fresh produce that stock the city's vital soup kitchens and food pantries are grown.

So far this year, the Newburgh Urban Farm and Food Initiative that manages the farm has donated or sold 9,000 pounds of fresh food to the community. The group manages the farm with the help of educational groups, a handful of paid staff, and many volunteers. Newburgh's widely reported poverty rate (30%), lack of public transportation, and lack of access to major supermarkets contribute to ongoing food insecurity.

Eager to respond to the food crisis, the city of Newburgh in 2015 started leasing the two acres connected to Downing Park to Newburgh Urban Farm and Food Initiative, known as NUFFI. The agreement focused on using the land to feed residents.

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