VIDEO--Farmers Markets are a "Growing" Movement

In this episode of Dialogue for Donors, PhilanthroMedia travels to Philadelphia, PA, where The Food Trust has established 30 local farmers markets.

While many of us may view these markets simply as cushy additions to our gentrifying communities (mine is on Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn), organizations like The Food Trust recognize the essential role they can play in fighting hunger and malnutrition. While my Park Slope neighborhood does have grocery stores, for instance, residents of several abutting the market do not. That means fresh produce is likely to be of poor quality or largely inaccessible to those without cars or the ability to afford rising gas prices.

Although we couldn't include this angle in our short piece, the episode's producer Chad Callaghan, was especially impressed with the Food Trust's effort to ensure that market customers can also use food stamps to purchase market offerings. At one time Food Stamps were physical stamps that a customer could exchange for goods at their local market. In recent years, the EBT system has become a debit card, which helps reduce the stigma of use, but adds an electronic intermediary that hinders use for transient markets. This month in Clark Park, the Food Trust launched a pilot in which every farmer will have a card-reading machine to take credit, debit and EBT cards, increasing access to local, fresh produce for those who use EBT credits to purchase healthy staples.

If you've got a story about the value of your local market, we'd love to hear and share. This episode touches on what is -- no pun intended -- clearly a growing movement.

Susan Herr

Posted at 1:57 AM, Jun 23, 2008 in Environment | Streaming Media | Permalink | Comment