Battle against rising food costs discussed


By Benjamin Colb

“Supply stations” for urban gardeners was among several ideas for combating the rising costs of food and fuel suggested at a May 26 forum held by JP’s New Economy Transition (JP NET).

About 30 people attended the forum, held at First Church in Jamaica Plain Unitarian Universalist. By a show of hands, a majority of attendees said the costs of their groceries have risen steadily. Several indicated that they have resorted to growing their own fruits and vegetables as a result.

The supply stations, which would provide equipment for urban gardeners, were among the ideas raised when the crowd reorganized into smaller groups for discussion.

“[Supply stations have] been mentioned more than once by different people,” said JP NET founder Orion Kriegman, “and they’ve described it differently. Some have suggested community spots for people learning about composting and container gardening”.

Local organizations such as the Boston Food Group could contribute toward their construction, it was suggested.

“Community-supported agriculture” (CSA) was another idea. In this model, a group of customers funds a farm’s output in exchange for a certain amount of its produce. The CSA organization Farmer Dave’s was in attendance.

Another popular solution suggested was transit-oriented development—building housing and retail around public transit stations. That is already a popular idea statewide, with major examples in Jamaica Plain including the redevelopment of Jackson Square and Forest Hills that are either under way or in the planning stages.

Some of the discussion involved changes and trends in JP, including gentrification. The incoming Whole Foods Market was mentioned in that vein, but was not discussed in terms of food prices.

JP NET was formed over a year ago by a variety of nonprofit and community organizations, including the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation, City Growers and JP Greenhouse. The organization focuses on a variety of socioeconomic issues, relating to diverse topics such as healthcare, food and especially climate change. In response to the ongoing issue of rising food prices, JP NET held its first workshop in September of last year, where attendees learned methods of preserving their produce.

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