This spring’s Top Tomato, Karyn Moskowitz, exemplifies COMMUNITY in so many ways! When the NJ Farm to School team first met Karyn, she was an attendee at a Farm to School workshop. Throughout the day's activities, with her phone upheld, Karyn live-streamed the workshop to a colleague who had been unable to attend due to illness. We were stunned by this act of generosity and by the clear dedication each of them held for the work they do.
A “veggie obsessed leader" (as her team lovingly calls her), Karyn is the coordinator of Interfaith Neighbors and is one of the founders and organizers of the Community Food Connection - the Asbury Park areas's first food pantry and community space coalition. The collaboration aims to end nutritional insecurity in their community and their central effort, the Farm to Food Pantry Initiative, brings together fellow stakeholders such as Fernbrook Farms, Asbury Park Food Collective, and others in a shared vision of connecting thousands of residents to naturally raised, farm fresh produce. At any of their 13 sites, every week June through November, the Community Food Connection not only provides farm fresh, local produce to residents, but they centralize food education, recipe sharing, produce handling/best practices, and story sharing about their amazing contributing farmers and community partners. It is not uncommon for volunteers and residents to make trips to the farm to experience the incredible resource of a working growing space! Did we say “veggie obsessed?” This is Veggie-Advocacy in action!
Currently, Karyn and her team are partnering with Sodexo leader, Yvonne Paradiso, and others from the Asbury Park and Ocean Township School Districts on the new Farm to School Grant. They are bridging schools and local non-profits like C.R.O.P.S. in Atlantic County in a grassroots community effort to integrate Fernbrook Farm produce into school meals, supporting the well-being of local youth and the overall community. We congratulate Karyn and the many people beside her, and we celebrate Karyn as our Spring 2023 Top Tomato! We love to cheer for our “veggie obsessed” leaders!