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    When Karyn Moskowitz lived in west Louisville in 2007, she found herself driving to Kroger in the Highlands or New Albany, Indiana, because she couldn’t get fresh produce that looked or tasted good in her neighborhood. “I had a car, but not everybody does,” she says. “So this lack of access has led to a high prevalence of diet-related illnesses, especially in children and disproportionately in the food deserts.”

    Moskowitz, 52, decided to work for Community Farm Alliance, which set up farmers’ markets in neighborhoods that were underserved by grocery stores. But the markets didn’t work. “There was one at Meyzeek (Middle School, in Smoketown) where farmers would come, but no consumers would come because it was just too expensive. Then in west Louisville, at Victory Park, the farmers simply wouldn’t come,” says Moskowitz. 

    In 2009, she started New Roots as a way to negotiate with farmers. The idea was to get a bunch of families together, have them pay what they could as food subscribers. New Roots now has 650 families paying an average of $18 per family for each semimonthly shipment. “We say to the farmers, ‘Give us 10 bushels of tomatoes, and can we pay a dollar instead of four because we’re buying so many?’” Moskowitz says. 

    Lorita Rowlett, a mother with a 13-year-old son, says turnips, pickled fennel and a stir-fry with cauliflower have made their way into her kitchen. During cooking demonstrations, New Roots volunteer Meghan Levins will cut up napa cabbage, kohlrabi and a large hunk of beef for stir-fry. She gives cooking demonstrations so participants can see ways to put the produce to use. Levins says she grew up poor with a mom who managed to put healthy food on the table. “It just pissed me off for a really long time that there’s this sort of attitude that poor people choose to eat like crap, so why give them anything better,” she says.

    Images courtesy of Chris Witzke

    This article appears in the December issue of Louisville Magazine. To subscribe to Louisville Magazine, click here.

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    About Amy Talbott

    Piscean. INFJ. Cat person. Runner. Mediocre housekeeper. Excellent cook. Scours the sleaze on Craigslist so you don't have to.

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