New Farmers Market In Echo Park

Posted on July 08, 2009, 10:28 am
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Harvest Home Farmers Market, Inc., City Harvest, and the Montefiore School Health Program are pleased to announce the opening of a new weekly farmers market at Echo Park, on East Tremont Avenue between Anthony and Webster Avenues, July 8th through November 18th.

Harvest Home Farmers Market formed a collaboration with City Harvest and the Montefiore School Health Program to introduce more affordable, healthy dietary options to residents of Mount Hope and the greater Bronx community. The Echo Park Farmers Market will be open every Wednesday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. starting July 8th.

The new farmers market is comprised of three local farmers accepting EBT/Food Stamps, other farmers market coupons, and will be operated by Harvest Home Farmers Market, Inc., a nonprofit whose mission is to encourage economic opportunities in communities by bringing fresh produce and locally made goods to the neighborhoods they serve. An opening celebration that will involve community residents and dignitaries is scheduled for July 22nd.

The development of the Echo Park Farmers Market is a step towards eliminating barriers to good health. Farmers markets provide a familiar and accessible venue for community members to purchase fresh, locally grown produce. In a Community Food Assessment published by City Harvest, 30% of respondents to a Mount Hope community survey performed in Summer 2008 said they would like to see a farmers market in their neighborhood. In addition, a June 2008 report from the Bronx District Public Health Office reported that 4 out of 10 people have difficulty finding fresh, affordable produce in the South Bronx and that South Bronx residents who shop at farmers markets eat more fruits and vegetables than those who do not use these outlets.

“I would like to thank the members of the Montefiore School Health Program, especially Megan Charlop, for extending an invitation to Harvest Home to establish this market, “ said Maritza Owens, founder of Harvest Home, Inc.  “Harvest Home will offer a traditional farmers market that will help ensure the availability of safe, fresh, nutritious, and affordable food for Mount Hope residents, senior citizens, and children.”

“City Harvest has seen the strong desire people have to find quality fresh produce at a reasonable cost, particularly in the South Bronx.  We’ve heard this from our relationships with participants at City Harvest’s Mobile Markets in the Melrose neighborhood and members of the Mount Hope CSA,” said Jilly Stephens, City Harvest’s executive director.  “We have also collected data through Community Food Assessments demonstrating that outlets that offer affordable, healthy food, such as farmers markets, will be well received in the community.” 

City Harvest, Just Food, and the Montefiore School Health Program have partnered on a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) project in the Mount Hope area since 2007.  The goal of this project was to help bring a greater amount of fresh produce into an underserved community where real demand for affordable nutritious food is evident.  With the close of the CSA, City Harvest and the Montefiore School Health Program asked Harvest Home Farmers Markets, Inc., to consider opening a market in the neighborhood to ensure that the community would have continued access to healthy, fresh, and local food.

Operation of the CSA as well as the current farmers market partnership are part of City Harvest’s larger Healthy Neighborhoods program, developed to support the availability of affordable fresh produce in targeted low-income neighborhoods in New York City where healthy food is not always available and to encourage healthy nutritional behaviors among those at risk for diet-related diseases. Healthy Neighborhoods is supported by donors such as the USDA and The New York Community Trust.

Open air markets once found mostly in upscale Manhattan neighborhoods have been established in many high need communities through the work of organizations like Harvest Home.  This year Harvest Home will operate 13 farmers market in the Bronx, Manhattan, and Brooklyn and a Youth Farmstand at the Children’s Storefront School on 129th Street in East Harlem.

Participants in the Women, Infants, Children’s (WIC) program and Senior Citizens’ Meals Programs can redeem New York State Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) checks to purchase their produce.   In addition, shoppers who receive “Health Bucks” coupons from the NYC Department of Health District Public Health Offices are encouraged to use these $2 coupons at all participating markets.

About City Harvest
Now serving New York City for more than 25 years, City Harvest www.CityHarvest.org is the world’s first food rescue organization, dedicated to feeding the city’s hungry men, women, and children. This year, City Harvest will collect 26 million pounds of excess food from all segments of the food industry, including restaurants, grocers, corporate cafeterias, manufacturers, and farms. This food is then delivered free of charge to more than 600 community food programs using a fleet of trucks and bikes as well as volunteers on foot. Each week, City Harvest helps over 260,000 hungry New Yorkers find their next meal.

About Harvest Home Farmers Market, Inc.
In operation since 1993 Harvest Home www.harvesthomefm.org has been instrumental in changing conventional wisdom and public perception that farmers markets can be successful in communities that are systematically overlooked, under served and have the greatest need for these products. 

The work of HHFM has increased residents’ access to high quality, locally grown fresh produce.  With the primary goal of increasing the consumer base to all demographics, all markets are approved to redeem Women, Infants, Children’s (WIC) program New York State Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) and Senior Citizens’ Meals Program checks, New York City Department of Health “Health Bucks” and Electronic Benefit Transfer/Food Stamps (EBT). 

About Montefiore SchoolHealth Program
Montefiore Medical Center is the second largest hospital in New York City and the university hospital for the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. It is the leading provider of medical services to the 1.4 million residents of the Bronx.  Founded in 1984, Montefiore’s School Health Program is one of the most visible aspects of Montefiore’s commitment to vulnerable populations. Under the leadership of David Appel, M.D., the program has grown to be the largest and most comprehensive school-based health care network in the country and a major community outreach program. Each school-based health center provides primary and preventive medical, mental health and dental services including physical exams, reproductive health care, care of acute and chronic health problems, vaccination programs, on-site dental care and mental health services. The School Health Program provides the comprehensive care of a community medical practice in 16 New York City public elementary, middle and high schools. Each year, more than 20,000 students enroll in the program and make over 60,000 visits to the clinics.

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