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CHOW Farm Tries to Grow Solution to Local Hunger

(Source: Jason Weinstein)

Welcome to CHOW Farm, part of a four-acre donation from the Town of Conklin. James Dunn walks this first-year garden with a simple goal in mind.

"We want to get some healthy, nutritious vegetables into this system. Unfortunately most of what goes through CHOW from the local food sources is canned, boxed food," said Dunn, who manages the CHOW farm.

"This is a labor of love for our community. Basically this is an all-volunteer project and we're looking to provide better food for those who don't have enough to eat in our community," said Mike Leahey, Director of CHOW.

Fresh vegetables are often the missing ingredient in the diet of those who struggle with the cost of food.

"We would expect a child who's hungry to have a low BMI, or Body Mass Index. But what we're actually seeing is kids with high BMI's because cheap foods are high-carb foods or high-fat foods," said Stacey Stalter, a UHS Nurse Practicioner.

A few local gardeners are helping add to CHOW's yield of fresh vegetables. This backyard plot in Endicott belongs to a member of the Union Presbyterian Church. Another member, Jennifer Miller,
tends to it.

"I really hope that the people who need food come to the CHOW pantries and they are able to get fresh vegetables. Really, to help them put that on the plate of those kids at home," said Miller.

And she's getting some help from an unlikely security guard - a groundhog.

"He has eaten some of our peas but they do come back. I think he watches over it, though, because nothing else has been eaten," said Miller.

Dunn is experimenting with crops this year to see which grow best. He's only using about an acre of the 4-acre site in Conklin. CHOW needs volunteers to help maximize this farm's yield.

"If there's any groups, especially we need a tractor for our corn field, if I can throw that in. We can put you to work here. It's very rewarding. We have a good time here. It's a good garden," said Dunn.

***In Broome County, Jason Weinstein, Fox 40 HD News***

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