Farm

Acorn Organic delivers fresh produce with Ed Nash
 
 
Delivering boxes of fresh, organic produce from Acorn Organics farm is how Ed Nash provides a direct and positive impact to our local community.  In the rare position to retire comfortably in his mid-fifties and share time between Westchester and Florida, Ed went looking for volunteer opportunities that would strengthen the quality of life for families in need in Westchester.
Ed heard about Acorn Organics when he first contacted Volunteer New York, a not-for-profit that connects people to meaningful ways to contribute in their local community.  Volunteer New York knew of the initiative at Old Oaks being spearheaded by Amy Benerofe and farmer Andrew Knoblauch.  Acorn Organics, located on 5 acres of land within the Old Oaks club grounds, grows a large variety of fresh vegetables and fruit each season with the purpose of giving 50% away to the local food pantries.
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Ed and Amy sorting produce
 
 
That idea appealed to Ed as he shared concerns about poor diet, hypertension, diabetes and cardiovascular issues being disproportionately inflicted on lower income families.  To address some of these concerns the quickest solution is a healthy diet and access to fresh produce. However, often these basics are considered a luxury in families over stretched for time and budget.
Ed contacted Amy and thus began a four-year partnership which has seen Ed deliver thousands of pounds of produce to food pantries all over Westchester including Caritas in Portchester, YWCA in Yonkers and Life Progressive in Mount Vernon.  During the growing season Ed arrives at the farm on a Tuesday morning in his Honda CRV with the seats lying flat so he can maximize the load. He fills the car to the brim with boxes of Acorn Organics vegetables. Ed immediately delivers the load to distribution sites, such as Caritas so the produce can be cooked into healthy, nutritious meals served directly to hundreds of locals who come each day for a hot meal.  In other outlets such as Life Progressive the produce is given to those in need to take home. Volunteers at the pantries create bags of food with a good mixture of the week’s produce such as tomatoes, squash, peppers and corn. These bags provide a supply of goods to needy families to take home and create their own meals with healthy options.
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Car is packed and ready to go!
 
 
Ed describes the look of joy and excitement he sees on staff faces as he pulls up with a car full of abundant, vitamin rich food.  People really appreciate that these vegetables were in the ground just a day before and are amazed to find it’s grown locally right here in Westchester. Organic food supplies are outside the norm for families who have to rely on dried and canned goods. Ed has seen lines and lines of people at the food pantries waiting to receive the top-quality produce.
Volunteer work such as this has made Ed feel fortunate.  He gets to interact with people and give back to those in need in a hands-on direct way.  The support from the members of the Old Oaks Country Club which drives this initiative has spread the benefits of the club’s primary asset – land, far beyond the immediate enjoyment of the club’s facilities.
The previously unused patch of five acres now produces an average annual production of over 13,000 lb produce of which 7,000 lb is given back to the community and the remaining half is enjoyed by the club’s members who purchase farm shares.  The members who purchase crop shares also relish the joy of a box of 100% local, organic food. The produce looks and taste so much more flavorful and is more nutritious than produce shipped in from overseas or across the country. The farm was mentioned on October 21st 2018 at the Distinguished Club’s Summit held at the University Club in NYC because it is an innovative land use from otherwise vacant land which now provides a valuable community service.  Like Ed – Old Oaks is a caring place celebrating life and finding growing ways to give back from the abundance we share.