March 1, 2018.  New York Common Pantry “Fill-the-Bag” Gala.  Ziegfeld Theater, NYC

Hi everyone.  My name is Farmer frank, and I’m the farmer at Bhumi Farms Seva. 

This past Friday, in Florida, my mother was taken to the hospital. I flew down Saturday, and I saw her in way I’ve never witnessed before.  She was nervous and she was uncertain.

I stayed on the couch of their modest little condo to set-up doctor appointments and tie up loose ends for them before they come back to NY.  My plan was to also get some of my own work done while there, which didn’t happen.

What did happen, was that over the next few days, every hour or so, there was a knock on the door; Another neighbor from their diverse community of 80-somethings coming to check on my parents.  Word travels quickly in shuffleboard circles. Men and women with their own health issues, sometimes with walkers and canes, knocked on my parent’s door with offerings of food and well wishes, and extending help in any way. A selfless offering of assistance, met with humble acceptance and gratitude, is an inspiring exchange of humanity.

So why am I sharing this story?  What I observed in Florida reminded me of what we are doing here this evening.  We, in this room, are from different backgrounds and different situations.  And despite this, and beneath and above this, we are undeniably connected as human beings with the ability to care and empathize.  In our community, there are generous hands that can give lovingly and there are hands that can receive graciously, and tonight we are here to help connect those hands in the fight against food insecurity.

For our part, Bhumi Farms Seva is a donor-supported farm that grows 30 varieties organic vegetables on 6 acres of beautiful farmland in Bridgehampton. This acreage was made available to us by one of our newest donors, and we are grateful.  Our farm is built on the profound belief that a farmer is meant to feed people, not to just grow vegetables, and within this, our focus is on individuals who aren’t currently in the financial position to buy organic vegetables for themselves. To this end, we’ve again committed our farm to donating produce to NYCP with the goal of getting to 100% of production donated in the near very future.  We do this because we believe that organic farm fresh produce should be a right, not a privilege.  We do this because we know that having a solid nutritional base is at the core of elevating oneself, and we do this because we trust that partnering with NYCP will make a difference to the numerous clients and community partners that come in contact with their efforts.

 Please come visit us at table 37 to say hello and to get some tips on how to grow the tastiest organic tomatoes you’ve ever had. 

 Thank you so much.  Enjoy the rest of your evening.