Plovgh is a cooperative of farmers, growers, and ranchers that sell directly to their customers.
Why join Plovgh?
Here are some of the folks sourcing directly from producers who are organizing with Plovgh. To find out how your business can start purchasing from some of these farms, send us a message!
4th Street Food Coop - NYC
Brooklyn Kitchen - Williamsburg, NY
Byerly’s - Minneapolis, MN
Campbell Cheese & Grocery - Williamsburg, NY
Chickpea & Olive- Brooklyn, NY
Cleaver Co. - Chelsea, NY
DigInn Seasonal Market - NYC
Foragers City Grocer - DUMBO & Chelsea, NY
Eat Greenpoint- NYC
Garden of Eden - NYC
Greene Grape Provisions - Fort Greene, NY
Haven’s Kitchen- NYC
Hu Kitchen - NYC
J’eatjet? Gastrobar- Brooklyn, NY
Lido Harlem - NYC
Lucy’s Whey - Carnegie Hill, NY
Lunds - Minneapolis, MN
Miller’s Tavern- Brooklyn, NY
M. Wells - Long Island City, NY
Pie Corps - Greenpoint, NY
Rose Water Restaurant - Park Slope, NY
Seward Coop- Minneapolis, MN
Solera Cocina de Espana - Minneapolis, MN
The Blue Stove- Brooklyn, NY
The Dutch- NYC
The Jam Stand - Brooklyn, NY
A growing coalition of producers are signing up around the country. If you’re interested in finding out how your farm might participate, get in touch with us and we can let you know about exchanges that are being activated near you.
Acorn Hill Farm - Walker Valley, NY
Adirondack Grazers Cooperative - New York/Vermont
Black Horse Farm - Athens, NY
Campanelli’s Poultry Farm - Kenoza Lake, NY
Catskill Native Nursery - Kerhonkson, NY
Cowbella - Jefferson, NY
Ferndale Farms - Cannon Falls, MN
Fitzgerald Farms - Kerhonkson, NY
Fieldstone Farm - Delhi, NY
Fitkin Popcorn - Cedar Falls, IA
Forest Mushrooms - Saint Joseph, MN
Glebocki Farms - Goshen, NY
Good Fence Farm - Ft. Edward, NY
Greener Pastures (aka Union Square Grassman) - Brooklyn, NY
Hand Picked Farm - Flemington, NJ
Laughing Loon Farm - Northfield, MN
Lucky Dog Farm - Hamden, NY
Neversink Farm - Claryville, NY
Oasis Valley Orchard - Overton, NV
Rexcroft Farms - Athens, NY
Rusty Plough Farm - Ellenville, NY
Samascott Orchards - Kinderhook, NY
Seeds Farm - Northfield, MN
Slope Farms - East Meredith, NY
Slow Roots Farm - Kingston, NY
Sprout Creek Farm - Poughkeepsie, NY
Stoney Brook Farms - Foley, MN
An enormous thank you to all the volunteers who came out to help cook and distribute meals to Coney Island and the Rockaways! We couldn’t have done it without you. Also, thank you to everyone who has signed up so far to lend a hand - your enthusiasm and support has been amazing. Below you will find a list of resources for food-related relief efforts.
If you would like to receive updates about volunteer opportunities please sign up here.
If you are a farmer with excess produce that you would like to donate or sell, please get in touch.
Occupy Sandy Recovery NYC is a community relief effort organized by Occupiers to help residents in the hardest hit areas of NYC recover from Hurricane Sandy.
Volunteers are still needed in the kitchen:
Food Prep, 8:30am - 4pm, all days
Cleaning Help, 4pm - 6/7pm, all days
Lead Chefs, 8am - 6pm or 11am - 6pm, all days
Currently, they need people to come in early in the morning to assist their lead chefs with preparing food. Most of the meals need to be ready for delivery starting at noon, so it’s crucial to get all hands on deck in the early hours. Prepping continues through the early afternoon, followed by a massive clean-up effort at around 4pm.
They are also in need of volunteers to lead the kitchen or assist with leading the kitchen on Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays. If you have chef experience and have cooked for large groups of people, or have lead a kitchen before and can take on a Sun-Tues shift, email them at SandyBayRidge@interoccupy.net. If those days don’t work, you are still encouraged to come and assist one of the other chefs during the week.
Drivers, 10:30am - 2:30pm
Delivery drivers are needed to distribute food to different relief hubs. Most of these places are in the Rockaways, but they also sometimes service Coney Island, Staten Island and Sheepshead Bay. Deliveries can be as large as up to 400 meals (think two or three giant coolers and other odds and ends), so having vans or trucks are ideal, but they do have smaller deliveries, so people with regular sized cars can still help.
Logistics and Communications, 9am - 6pm
The logistics/communications crew helps to organize everything and are the voice of the kitchen. They talk to all of the hubs each day regarding meal needs, coordinate the daily delivery schedule, answer voice-mails, phone calls and e-mails, communicate the kitchen needs through social media, organize drivers, monitor the Amazon registry, and a whole lot more. They mainly use Google for all of their spreadsheets and computer work and they have two spare computers in the office, but those interested are welcome to bring their own laptop.
If you have any questions you can get in touch at OccupySandy@interoccupy.net. Walk-in volunteers are always accepted, but if you would like to lead the kitchen, please e-mail them first! The kitchen is located at 461 99th Street in Brooklyn; it’s the last stop on the R train, only about ten minutes South of the old Jacobi site.
Additional volunteer efforts:
It’s hard to comprehend how things could feel so normal in some parts of the city while just miles away our neighbors are hungry, cold, and generally not okay. We are relieved to say that upstate farms that bore the brunt of Irene last year fared well in Sandy from a damage perspective. However, the cruelty of the storm is such that many of those farms rely on downstate markets to sell their produce. Farmers markets and restaurants are reopening, but there is still a bunch of food on farms that a bunch of people in this city could use.
So, when one of our friends from the Brooklyn restaurant scene decided to get hot meals to hungry people, we told her we’d mobilize. Let us know if you can help.
If you are a farmer with excess produce, please get in touch.
If you are in New York City and want to volunteer your time, your vehicle, or your cooking skills, please let us know here.
If you or anyone you know needs food, please let us know here.
Got a mind for operations? Like the idea of reconfiguring the flow of goods from producers to consumers? Have an opinion about the term “supply chain”? If so, send an email describing your qualifications to email@example.com.
At Plovgh we’re rethinking commerce. We’re building a platform for a community of people to produce, trade, and move crops from farms directly to individuals. As we grow and prepare for the next stage of Plovgh, we’re searching for people to help support the team in areas of social media, marketing and producer recruitment.
Intern responsibilities will include but are not limited to: Assisting in the execution of social media strategy across multiple platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.); Supporting recruitment of potential producers to sell on Plovgh, including some data entry; Compiling articles, links, podcasts and other sources for a daily news digest; Conducting research on food and agricultural policy, neighborhood/census data, etc.; General administrative support; Conceiving and assisting with content creation
* Access to a personal computer
* Detail oriented with excellent communication skills
* Writing experience (blog or other published content)
* Experience with content management and editing, particularly in Tumblr
* Familiarity with a variety of social networks
* Experience with Google Apps, Dropbox and MailChimp
* Marketing or graphic design experience is a plus
* Interest in agriculture, food, technology, new economy
This position is based out of our Brooklyn office, and requires at least two full time days per week, preferably on site. Start and end dates are flexible. The position is unpaid but we can offer a travel stipend, start up experience and coffees courtesy of Plovgh.
Below is a snapshot of where Plovgh members are beginning to organize. Do you see your neighborhood or city or borough on the map? No? Well, here’s where to get started.
Farm assurance can come in different forms with varying guidelines and fundamentals. What seems to remain constant among farms applying for certification is that they often do so because it indicates that the crops, livestock and other agricultural products they grow, raise or produce are done so in a manner that adheres to standards which imply a level of quality. In addition to quality management, certifications can also highlight principles of traceability, distribution, production and manufacturing methods, hygienic practices and the use of inputs.
Certification schemes can be based on trademarks or governmentally regulated standards, as well as provided through third party, independent agencies and organizations. Among the many recognized programs, the behemoth being the USDA governed National Organic Program, there are more than a dozen state departments of agriculture and over fifty private organizations that are accredited as organic certifiers. In addition there are non-profit and more product oriented programs such as Sustainable Seafood Certification, Protected Harvest, Rainforest Alliance, The Non-GMO Project, and many others.
National Organic Program
The National Organic Program is a regulatory program conducted by the USDA and is one of the more publicly recognized labeling programs among the agricultural industry. The standards and guidelines presented by the NOP indicate that crops, livestock or other agricultural products have been approved under a verifying system that takes into account production and management processes “that promote the existing ecosystem and conserve biodiversity”. The NOP regulations adhere to standards relative to production and handling, labeling, certification and accreditation. The program audits the use of inputs at the farm level and complies to guidelines that discredit production methods that involve synthetic fertilizers, irradiation and genetic engineering. The USDA accounts for the authorization of nearly 100 state appointed certifying agencies and the USDA Marketing Service maintains an open database of certifying agents and the operations they verify. Many third party, independent certifiers employ the NOP standards as a basic guideline to organic production, but there are many pundits who believe the USDA Organic label and the philosophies it represents have gone astray.
Certified Naturally Grown
CNG or Certified Naturally Grown is a recognized grassroots certification model that uses an approach to agriculture known as a Participatory Guarantee System. While other programs can require an exceeding amount of paperwork and certifying fees, this system is structured to minimize the barrier of entry by offering a peer-inspection process. CNG is organized around local networks of producers who use natural production methods (no synthetic inputs) and follow traditional organic practices. What sets CNG apart from the USDA organic process is that it is made up of and facilitated by the farmers who participate. The function of peer inspections can also help build a stronger community by creating opportunities for farmers to learn from each other, share techniques and develop support networks. You can find more information about their standards and a map of participating producers on their site.
Food Alliance is a national non-profit that provides third party certification of sustainable farming and food processing operations. The organization aligns itself with standards that ensure “safe and fair working conditions, humane treatment of animals, and careful stewardship of ecosystems”. This voluntary certification program works with farmers, ranchers and food processers - most are mid-sized or smaller family owned enterprises - and today it has certified over 330 farms and ranches in Canada, Mexico and the United States. What distinguishes Food Alliance from the national organic program is that it looks at sustainable agriculture from a more comprehensive perspective and believes that to ensure a sustainable food system the industry must account for social and environmental strategies not simply the substitution of inputs. You can read more about their certification guidelines here.
NOFA-NY Certified Organic, LLC
NOFA-NY Certified Organic is an example of one of the many state level programs that provides organic certification for producers. Authorized by the USDA National Organic Program, this locally organized NOFA branch facilitates farm and processing inspections by trained verifiers. State run programs such as this are unique in that they work with more mid to small size farms and the staff is equipped with better regional knowledge.
The Farmer’s Pledge is an alternative approach to certification that arose from an expressed need among producers to regain control of the term “organic” and what it stands for. Unlike traditional certification, the Pledge is a commitment made to customers and neighbors by certified or uncertified organic farmers that extends beyond the standards of the National Organic Program to include labor issues, community values and marketing approaches. First introduced in 2003, the pledge believes that “the heart of sustainable agriculture is in the integrity of the farmer.” The Farmer’s Pledge while not a substitution for organic certification is an effort by NOFA-NY to help people identify what farms they want to support and offer producers a way to communicate their practices with consumers.
Animal Welfare Approved
Animal Welfare Approved works only with family owned operations that raise their animals outdoors on pasture or range under humane conditions. Producers receive annual audits from AWA certifiers who oversee the animals’ lifecycle from birth to slaughter to ensure that the methods comply to stringent standards of good husbandry. Founded as a market-based solution to the growing interest in where our food is grown, raised and processed, the AWA program strives to offer transparency for consumers and a distinct way to identify the producers that raise their animals according to the highest welfare standards.
Slow Food is an internationally recognized grassroots movement that is made up of a huge network of supporters, members and localized chapters. Slow Food promotes the resurgence of regional food traditions and encourages people to seek out more information about the food they eat and its source. Supported by global and national advocacy as well as local projects and initiatives, the organization provides consumers with insight into real food access and raises public awareness about the importance of social, economic and environmental impacts on achieving a more sustainable food system. The Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity promotes products that follow organic certification standards and that are also ‘good, clean and fair.’
The Cornucopia Institute is a Wisconsin based non-profit that is devoted to increasing the awareness of the “family-scale” farming community and was established to offer greater transparency of organic standards and regulations. Through education, research and outreach the mission of the Cornucopia Institute is to provide consumers, farmers and the media with insight into organic policy and to protect “the integrity and meaning of the organic label”. As an alternative to the USDA’s organic accreditation program, the Cornucopia Institute developed a comprehensive rating system that provides scorecard ratings for products that carry a certified organic label.
This organic nonsense has to stop. I’d like to politely request that those who don’t know agriculture cease writing about it as though they do, stoking an already divisive debate that misses the heart of the problem we face: We’re not sure how we should be growing food, and thus we’re not sure how to eat.
Anyone who suggests that a crop can be raised without the provision of nutrients and pest management should not opine on agriculture. Roger Cohen, I’m talking to you.
Saturday’s opinion piece, shows me just how far off course the discussion of agricultural production has gotten because it spreads misinformation and focuses squarely on the wrong problem. If we continue to debate organic versus conventional, continue to view food choices as an emblem of class, and continue to use the nine billion future people of the world as a gauntlet that the human race must run, we are in trouble because the question is not first about production. It’s about distribution.
We produce enough to feed 1.3 billion more people than we actually do. And that’s in American proportions. In 2000, the USDA reported that Americans consumed almost 2,000 pounds of food per person per year. Meanwhile, 1.3 billion tons of global food production goes to waste each year. Production by any method, standard, or label is not our most pressing problem.
Getting production where it is needed and wanted is another story. We’ve got a billion or so people on this planet consuming too much of the wrong kinds of calories and another approximate billion getting too few of the right nutrients. Most food production happens far from population centers, and timing is everything whether you’re moving kale to market or wheat to a mill, so properly matching supply with demand is tricky. Here we are in 2012, endowed with information and technology that together can make just about any transaction instantaneous. Yet we rely on supply chains that emerged in the 19th century to connect us with our food.
The diversity that agricultural products present complicates matters too. Because of weather, seed variety, origin, soil conditions, and a host of other factors, not every tomato tastes the same and sweet corn from my home state of Minnesota is like corn from nowhere else. I value that distinction in my food.
On the whole, our economy does not.
We produce and consume food within a structure that was built for undifferentiated, commodity products. The processes that move vast amounts of crops from harvest, to processing, to wholesale, to retail, to you keep the producer and the consumer conveniently separated – by about $0.84 for every dollar you spend. The anonymous middle of merchants, distributors, sellers, and superstores has driven consumers to rely on certifications like organic to tell them more about the products they’re buying than anyone else will. Producers, in turn, seek that certification as a way to distinguish their products in the marketplace.
Because so far they are all we’ve had to rely on to see something, anything, through the haze of the modern food system, labels have an inflated value. But don’t let that fool you into thinking that only spoiled rich folks, as Cohen would have it, feel strongly about the short- and long-term effects their food has on themselves, their families, and their environments.
Look at Growing Power, where Will Allen has built an urban farming empire-of-everyman. Look at the Bed-Stuy CSA of Brooklyn, where middle income families subsidize shares so their lower income neighbors can participate in getting food directly from farms. Look at the verdant farmers market culture in northern Iowa. Look at the efforts of farmers in Tchula, Mississippi, to grow food – not corn, not soy, not cotton – to feed their county first, and everyone else they can thereafter.
If anything, the debate surrounding how we produce and move food should unite us. Articles like Cohen’s are a soap box, and soak up our energy with debate when they should instead focus on shared principles: sufficient food to feed our people, production technology and innovation (from nutrient-rich composting techniques and drip irrigation, to GPS systems in John Deere tractors) that facilitate efficient and sufficient food production, soil and water systems that promise years and years of sustained agricultural production, and access for every single person to the abundance that we now know, but that our great-grandparents did not.
The science should focus on how we get there. I’d like to see, for example, a comparison of per-acre nutrient yields and revenue for six different production systems: conventional and certified organic commodity, conventional and certified organic fruit and vegetable under mass production, conventional but diversified fruit and vegetable production, and fruit and vegetable production under what we might call “beyond organic”, “practical”, “sustainable”, or whatever term most effectively conveys the rational approach of a growing number of farmers to use the best means they have to produce a crop that is healthy, high-yielding, and good to eat. Personal experience suggests that the last of these, which takes place right now on small- and mid-sized enterprises, is our greatest hope.
The future may not be organic but it is also not conventional. We should set aside the debate about organics and start identifying at a large scale an alternative path for the production, distribution, purchase, and consumption of the food that we all rely on for sustenance.