Harlem Word: Paula Lukats explains that CSAs don’t just bring you fresh food; they show you how to use them

Editor January 25th, 2010

Paula Lukats loves working with communities to give them choices and control about the food they eat. She runs the CSA Program at Just Food, a non-profit with the goal of bringing fresh and healthy food to New York City residents. Just Food also wants its members to learn how to cook the vegetables they get directly from farmers in the New York area. Find out more below!

Q: Does Just Food teach Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) members how to cook the vegetables they get?

A: Just Food has a Veggie Tip Sheet Book for CSA members.  It's a big cookbook with recipes for over 90 fruits, vegetables, and herbs that you would get from a Northeast CSA. One of the strengths of our farms and CSAs is that the farmers grow many different vegetables. They don't just bring lettuce, cucumbers, and tomatoes. But, it's a little scary to have vegetables in your refrigerator that are new to you. The cookbook has preparation and storage information to help people start.

Q: Do you ever have cooking lessons?

A: CSA members can get trained to teach cooking classes through our Community Food Education program. These community chefs teach people at community gardens and farmers markets as well as members of CSAs how to use vegetables in delicious ways. Sometimes we do tastings and show people what part of the plant to eat. That kind of information can be really helpful for people so they are comfortable in using vegetables.

Q: How would someone attend a cooking demonstration by a Just Food community chef? Or get trained as one?

A: We have two community chef trainings each year that are offered free of charge. One is for anyone who would like to be trained to teach classes. After they are trained, they provide demonstrations at our farmers markets, food pantries and soup kitchens that work with our Fresh Food for All program, and some CSAs. We also have a specific training for CSA members who would like to do demonstrations at their sites. CSA sites can have their own trained CSA Chef, who goes through that training, or they can ask us to connect them with one of our Community Chefs to do a training session at their site. The demonstrations usually take place at the location where the vegetables are given out during the regular distribution time.

Read more from Paula Lukats by clicking the links below:

Sign in or join now to save events.