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It’s July and the veggie fields are bursting with food! July marks the beginning of our Fresh Food Pantry distributions for 2017. This year we will be delivering to:

Pine Plains Food Locker at the Methodist Church Pine Plains ~ 2nd Saturday of each month 10am

Vines and Branches Amenia at the Church of the Immaculate Conception/St Anthony’s ~ 3rd Saturday 10am

DCAP office in Dover Second Monday of the Month {call ahead to inquire}

Shares this year will include a full box of assorted seasonal vegetables from Rock Steady Farm in Millerton, Milk from Hudson Valley Fresh and fresh local eggs. This year we are also partnering with Long Table Harvest – a gleaning organization in Columbia and Dutchess counties. Long Table picks up and distributes goods from area farms and often arrives with an abundance of veggies, fruits, herbs and even locally milled flours and grains!

If you or someone you know could benefit from this fresh food please be in touch or come to one of the distributions above. Each share is provided freely thanks to a generous grant from Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley.
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February 18, 2015

Food Assessment Meeting

In attendance: Mariella Ribbeck, Sam Busselle, Judith Ahrens, Douglas Kramer, Lauren Hirtle, Betsey McCall, Evelyn Garzetta, Tamara Mijatovic

Completed data entry for all surveys and will be sending to statistician Libby Murphy soon.

Betsey, Jenn, and Lauren will meet with Bard Professor Gautam Sethi and statistician Libby Murphy on 2/23/15 to assess their next steps with the CFP. Will ask when infographics, initial data analysis will be available.

Survey data – How do we want to disseminate information to the public?
• Town hall meetings (w/potluck) at each town (Amenia. Millerton, Pine Plains): interactive ways of presenting data
• Newsletter—in English and Spanish
• Newspaper—in English and Spanish
• Academic paper—will be completed this summer (2015) with help from Gautam Sethi, Bard College.
• NECC has 90 days to submit full report to USDA
• “Snapshot” Page—presented simply with most compelling infographics to be handed out and distributed widely esp. while tabling at public events like Spring for Sound (annual NECC event).
• Poster with top 3 infographics from data
• Possible presentation at schools (in lunchroom or at assemblies) to sensitize students to our research
• Send home mailing or postcard to Webutuck/Pine Plains school parents
• NECC Summer Food interns could do peer to peer presentations in the Fall. Could also do a mock shopping, nutrition and money management game. Teenagers could also be involved in some infographic designs.
• Could we utilize social media to get the word out about CFP data and info?

Discussed a zoning dispute in Pine Plains regarding the possibility of a Dollar Store (Dollar General?) being built on 82, south of Stewarts. Discussed the pros and cons of the possibility and whether the CFP data (esp. Market Basket data) could play a role in the town decision-making process.

Next Steps
• Facilitate community led groups to share CFP results and to address food security issues, advocacy
• Empower community members to become involved if interested in planning and find solutions to problems defined by CFP research.
• Ask: “What do we think are solutions?” “How do you feel?” to encourage community to think of what to do with CFP data.
• Have students have similar discussions at school/afterschool or have a contest for local food access problem-solving
• Have meetings at friendship centers?
o Discussed the differences between So. Amenia and Millerton Friendship Centers

Focus Groups
Will be scheduled with participants ahead of time.
• HRHC—Amenia: WIC Clients
• Astor Services—Millerton: Parent Group
• Community Food Locker—Pine Plains: Food Pantry Clients
• Farmer focus group

Discussed how early statistical analysis will be available to present or refer to in focus group meetings and what info/infographics we should present. Also discussed whether we could rephrase focus group questions to relate to survey data and still be open-ended. If we do present data to focus groups, we can ask what was the most important issue/problem, etc. and ask people to get involved to start problem-solving initiatives.

Betsey will present data and CFP info to NECC Board and discuss NECC’s next steps and involvement with future projects defined from CFP data. Betsey had previously informed the board at the project’s 4 month mark and will eventually prepare a formal presentation.

The group discussed whether we could present to the Board sometime soon (once posters and flyers with info and data can be compiled) to get the ball-rolling in terms of funding opportunities, future projects, etc.

Discussed film screening at the Millerton Moviehouse of “Plant Pure Nation” on July 15th. Decided it would be better to be involved with a movie more in line with the CFP mission.

Ended the meeting discussing how we could get CFP data and info to local stores (Peck’s Market, Grand Union, and Freshtown). Could possibly meet with store managers just to inform them of our data to empower them to solve problems.

Future Dates to keep in mind:
March 11: Assessment team meeting
March 25: Potluck

January 14, 2015

Food Assessment Meeting

In attendance: Sheila DePaola, Mariella Ribbeck, Sam Busselle, Judith Ahrens, Douglas Kramer, Lauren Hirtle, Betsey McCall, Evelyn Garzetta, Ed Frederick, Jennifer Chang

Happy 2015!

We have 61 surveys done to date – we want at least 75 total (30 surveys is statistically appropriate)

January sites: Friendship center, Amenia Church Dinner, S. Amenia Pres. Church
Care Car clients to partake in surveys – either during the drive/after appointment

Focus Groups – qualitative information, anecdotes
• Recorded sessions – will be using Dragon Software to transcribe
• 3 facilitators per session
• Millerton – Possibly Astor Services
• Amenia – WIC
• Pine Plains – Community Food Locker
• Need to recruit participants a month in advance
• Offer meal and Health Bucks as incentive

Farmer’s Focus Group
• Food producer’s points of view

CSA Fair & Potluck – January 28 (Wed) 5:30-7:30
• A chance for community to meet farmers and sign up for CSA shares
o Ten Barn – Ghent
o Max Morningstar – Copake
o Sol Flower – Millerton
o Olde Forge – Wassaic
o Remedy/Chaseholm – Pine Plains
o Full Circus – Pine Plains

Discussed surveying grocery stores/convenience stores on their perspectives regarding WIC/SNAP benefits & usage within stores
Possibility of creating training opportunities for store staff with information and sensitivity to customers using benefits
Creating advocacy campaign to provide information on where, how to use benefits (connect with social services)

Sam Busselle share with our group:
North East Dutchess Economic Development Initiative.
• Municipalities of Amenia, Millerton, Pine Plains, North East
• Address municipality waste treatment, infrastructure, roads
• Various platforms – Agriculture, Arts, Tourism, Community, Youth Development
• Agriculture
o Involve individuals to county organizations
o Food insecurity
o Food transportation
o Setting up a food “hub” for farmers to drop off/pickup/sell/buy readily available product
o Setting up regional farmers association
• Organizing entire region for accessible funding
• Will be having more public announcements in near future!

Future Dates to keep in mind:
January 28 – CSA Fair/Potluck
February 11 – Next Assessment Meeting
February 25 – Potluck

Attendance: Evelyn Garzetta, Mariella Ribbeck, Judith Ahrens, Douglas Kramer, Sam Busselle, Lauren Hirtle, Betsey McCall, Jennifer Chang

Pilot Surveys:

  • 6 completed (few were incomplete due to being called into appointment)
    • Potentially address this by administering survey after appointment
  • Minor wording changes were addressed
  • Pilot (in Poughkeepsie) had interesting perspective regarding homelessness (however our target areas do not have a large homeless population)
  • **How long did pilot surveys take to administer?

Bard will have pilot database up to input survey data

Spacing at survey locations:

  • Amenia Presbyterian Church: Meeting hall space – 1-2 tables away from dining area Possibly 30 families in attendance
  • Millerton Presbyterian Church: smaller space but potential for separate room to administer surveys

What to expect:

  • NECC will bring ~20 surveys in an interoffice envelope
  • All surveys will be kept in a lockbox at NECC
  • NECC will brings pens, nametags, clipboards, and apples/healthbucks

Administrator Expectations:

  • Administrators will receive number code (to identify administrator of each survey)
  • Make sure to read consent form!
  • After survey is completed, administrator will hand a bag of apples and $4 Health Bucks

Recruitment flyers approved by review board for the survey and focus groups will be posted

Focus groups for Astor Services and WIC at HRHCare

Outreach for surveying in South Amenia Church & Episcopal Church in Amenia


Potluck October 22: Food Day Town Hall Panel – Inviting local leaders, farmers to speak about “access to sufficient and nutritious food”

Pecks Market in Pine Plains now accepts SNAP

Attendance: Evenlyn Garzetta, Mariella Ribbeck, Judith Ahrens, Jordin Schmidt, Christine Sergent, Lauren Hirtle, Monty Stone, Betsey McCall, Ed Frederick

• Monte can provide Seniors for survey
• Christine (Cornell Cooperative Extension) will be running the pilot program the week of September 22nd
• Nutrition education program will be changing October 1 due to grant changes – it will be regional running out of Orange County
• Pilot Surveys will be finished by Sept 29
• Betsey needs to send consent form
• October is “food month” to promote surveys
• Libby (statistician from Bard College) has built database to run reports
• Will need surveys by Oct 6 for Bard IRB review
• Evelyn will meet with Betsey regarding Spanish version of survey
• Official surveying starts Oct 11
• To Go Meals are now changed to “Harvest Shares” – includes bag of produce w/ recipe
• At focus groups, we may need to alternate “babysitters” while parent is being surveyed
• Grant funding ends in February 2015
• Surveys should be done end of November
Food Potluck: Co-op pt 2 discussion
• Wed September 24th

April 23 5:30-7:30 PM
Potluck Meeting on Community and School Gardens

Members in Attendance:

Betsey McCall
Lauren Hirtle
Amy Daggett
Ed Frederick
Doug Kramer
Judith Ahrens
Sheila DePaola
Evelyn Garzetta
Mariella Ribbeck

Betsey talked about survey progress points and what we have left to do.

Amy continues to work on Market Basket Survey which should be completed by Thursday May 24th. She has received permission from all participating stores (including Pecks in Pine Plains NY) in order to compare and weigh all the options in the M.B. Survey.

Group discussed doing an additional survey of where people shop both near and far, whether they carpool, etc. Like a Market Basket Survey of where people actually shop (Walmart?) Betsey suggested that we might save this survey for after we complete the others. Group discussed that there may be databases for prices at bigger stores like Walmart, so we mightn’t need to travel to the location to gain the pertinent information—i.e., request information vs. investigating in person.

Group went over who wants to conduct surveys and discussed that we need to get more people to complete the IRB training.

Webutuck garden opening is May 23rd at 2:15pm
NECC Community Garden needs volunteers

Betsey presented a slideshow about the Webutuck School Garden, Garden Club and program—and what they grow and where the harvest goes.

Judith asked about the essential purposes and goals of community gardens.
Group discussed their purposes as education and food resources for any and all residents in a community.

Discussed whether there is an interest for community members to join a community garden. Maybe this could be a question on the survey? Further discussed the concept of community gardens and school gardens.

Ed presented a slideshow about the Amenia Community Garden

Half of the garden is used for family plots and the other half is utilized to grow and sell produce at HRHC farmer’s market. Families (and Ed) help maintain all plots/raised beds in the garden.

Ed said that there are currently 18 prospective families that have shown interest in joining the garden for the season.

Evelyn talked about the St. Thomas Community Garden in Amenia—stated that it will open on May 23d. The garden mostly consists of raised beds. She also stated that food pantry users will hopefully volunteer and become involved in the garden which will bring more people to the garden.

Betsey discussed the next steps for the Food Assessment
-Betsey will update the group about what Bard says about our proposals.
-Betsey met with Amanda Mclain about her research about food and young latino kids (and moms?)

Group discussed planning for the next potluck—May 28th—and all future meetings for the summer. Group decided to continue potluck meetings but only conduct smaller, focus group meetings with assessment team members, as needed and will certainly pick up again in September.

Ideas for future potlucks included have one potluck in each town: Millerton, Amenia, and Pine Plains, at some point. Discussed that movies and speakers were popular potlucks. Also discussed having an off-site potluck or picnic that involved time at a farm doing an herb walk or foraging talk, etc.

In closing, the group discussed ESL classes in local areas and that Evelyn gives of many various flyers at her classes.




Betsey McCall

Amy Daggett

Evelyn Garzetta



Lauren Hirtle (recorder)


• Looked at Spanish translation of Assessment Survey translated by Hudson River Health Care

• Noted that the survey needs to be submitted to Bard by April 17th, so changes for any version of the survey (English or Spanish) should be sent to Betsey before then.

• Discussed grant proposed for assessment survey focus group food and possible take home meals.

• Amy presented her work on the Market Basket Survey that compares costs of different items from different stores.

• List presented consisted of 43 food items that had started as 20. The items were more specific to the local Latino community. All items are based on foods that are commonly eaten by people of low income households and based on the Thrifty Food Plan recipes by the USDA, specific for people who use SNAP, and USDA dietary guidelines (food pyramid).

• Solange Miller (nutritionist from HRHC) and Evelyn were consulted especially for Latino community foods. Solange worked with NECC to choose most nutritionally ideal for low-income people. Items chosen were to be as healthy as possible (i.e. did not include sweets). The idea was if people with snap came to Solange looking for nutritional help, these are items she would suggest.

• Market Basket Survey will include cost comparisons from Freshtown, Grand Union and Pecks (one from each town in the food assessment survey) and will expand to convenience stores like Cumberland Farms.

• Ed brought up possible additional items to the list like tomatillos or prepared salsa. A point was made that it was nutritionally ideal item and ingredients, not entire food recipes/prepared foods.

• Pros and cons were discussed to having something like mole or salsa? Cultural importance? Bought for convenience?

• Discussed specific items and attempted to narrow down the 43 items by like combining all canned beans and dried.

• Betsey: Discussed the IRB process with Bard College

• Applying for mini grant to work with a professor from Bard College to help with preparing for the Institutional Review Board process, help develop outreach flyers, the survey in English and Spanish, etc. We need to submit everything to the professor on April 17th and he will submit it to the IRB.


+Everyone who will be conducting the survey needs to do the IRB training (takes 2-3 hours and can be completed in multiple sessions, i.e. it does not need to be completed in one 2-3 hour session). This will be core group of people who have been participating. Betsey will email the training link to all those interested in conducting the survey in the coming months.

• Is the IRB training offered in Spanish? Betsey will find out.

• Each surveyor needs to print their IRB training certificates and get them to Betsey by April 16th or earlier before the survey needs to be submitted to Bard on the 17th.

• Discussed the possibly of offering some sort of incentive for people who take the survey in focus groups. Maybe offer food at focus group survey sessions?

• Another idea was proposed to get together to do IRB training as a group and get laptops and have an instructional PowerPoint… and food? Maybe decide on what incentives to offer and set time a to have people do the IRB training together.

• Discussed how many surveyors we will we need. Maybe 14? 11 are signed on now. Additionally, how many surveyors might we need who speak Spanish? Ideally, 2 Spanish Speaking surveyors for each town.

• Surveys can be done in groups (as individuals) or with individuals.

• Discussed the need for at least two focus groups in each town and to go to locations at least 2 times to increase probability of survey takers. Ongoing basis at certain sites like food pantries.

• We will hear back about proposal about mid-May from Bard.