Farmers Market Closes for the Season
With the help of our many partner farmers and organizations as well as the support of community residents, 2011 was a great year for food access in Bowdoin Geneva! Direct sales at the farmer's market this year totaled over $5,000. About a quarter of these sales were transactions made possible through Boston Bounty Bucks: a program which assists participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly "Food Stamps") by doubling their purchasing dollars at farmers' markets across the city.
Our biggest growth was in the Farm to Family Program, which works to distribute weekly farm shares for employees at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and other Longwood-area hospitals while subsidizing farm shares for residents here in Bowdoin Geneva. This season, we partnered with ABCD Geneva Avenue Head Start, College Bound, Geneva Avenue Elderly Housing, and St. Peter's Teen Center to distribute $13,000 worth of fruits and vegetables to 90 different families over the course of the season. The Food Project was instrumental in the coordination of the program and grew the produce included in the farm box each week at its farm in Lincoln, MA. Our special thanks go out to the many staff at BIDMC who supported this program through their participation as shareholders in the Farm to Family Program.
We also experimented with a small but successful Farm to Store pilot program as part of our Healthy Corner Store Initiative. This program worked with store owners throughout the neighborhood to place orders for locally-grown produce - from apples to zucchini, collard greens to butternut squash. Four stores participated in the program, helping to make farm-fresh produce available to residents not only on farmers' market day, but throughout the week. The success of this effort has positioned us well to ramp up efforts to expand and enhance our corner store work in 2012. Stay tuned for more news soon!
In total, these efforts represent $20,225 worth of fresh, local food distributed to our neighbors here in Bowdoin Geneva - an increase of over 50% since 2010. Our hats go off to the farmers who faced a particularly difficult growing season this year and without whom none of this would have been possible. We look forward to another year of exciting developments in 2012 as we strive to create a thriving food environment and economy in Bowdoin Geneva.
If you are a neighborhood resident and interested in providing your input on food access initiatives, please consider joining the Food in the 'Hood committee for its monthly meetings. For more information, please contact Maura Beaufait at
email@example.com or call 617-754-0026.