CAMBA is a non-profit based in Brooklyn that provides a number of social support services, including legal aid, economic development, health and education services. The organization has run a food pantry since 1998, but the special thing about this pantry is that it has its own farm.
The hydroponic farm was finished in August, 2013 and provides the food pantry with 80 heads of lettuce per week. “We are able to grow year round with no natural sunlight inside of our actual food pantry,” said Janet Miller, a CAMBA Senior Vice President who oversees the emergency food program. They grow bok choy, spinach, lettuce and herbs. In addition to growing their own greens, CAMBA also purchases fruits and vegetables from local farmers.
Miller said the produce is grown by “our fantastic food program supervisor, Lucila Santana, her wonderful pantry assistant, Ralph Samaroonsingh and a committed fleet of senior volunteers, high school interns, and community members.”
The food pantry is also special because it allows the people it serves to select the items they would like, rather than pre-packaging bags or boxes. This allows hungry clients with special dietary needs to be better served. CAMBA reports that 5,000 people facing food insecurity use their food pantry services each month.
Like many non-profits, CAMBA depends on donations. They’re running a campaign to help restock their pantry and re-seed their hydroponic farm. All donations made through the end of April will be matched by The Feinstein Foundation. You can learn more and donate here.