Working in Washington Heights, an under-served community in New York City, I hear stories about family's trips to the markets and see the smiling faces that accompany those stories. Going to the market is an experience, a positive one. I hear how families get to escape spaces made of concrete. I hear they get to walk along with their kids down the block full of local farmers picking out fresh produce, running into other families from the neighborhood. Sometimes it's the most time they spend outdoors.
When I heard that the federal government proposed a bill to cut funding to the Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP), memories of their stories came flashing back to me. The FMNP works with the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program to provide low-income families access to fresh produce and nutrition education. * Local farms participating in this program serve low-income communities in the five boroughs of New York.
Removing the opportunity of one family to purchase produce from the market goes beyond cutting access to fresh local foods at an affordable price. While at the market, families learn about local farming and its connection to reducing our ecological footprint; they learn to cook seasonal fruits and vegetables, the meaning of the word organic, and even purchase their own vegetables to grow.Families learn and nurture their kids a culture of local agriculture and community.
Removing FMNP funding is removing quality family time where parents of under-served communities teach their kids healthy living is not only a choice of foods but a lifestyle.
Photo from GrowNYC.org
To learn more about these programs, how they work, and how to help restore funding to FMNP to please visit the following link:
"It was a good day at the market today..."
This is usually the way I feel when I get home from the green market I started working at a couple of months ago. My job is to collect food scraps for composting and inform the community on composting methods.
This is a pilot program from Grow NYC and so far it has been very successful. Just last week we collected a little more than 6,500 pounds of compost that we will be turning into soil.
A resident of Inwood, N.Y. empties his compost.
I also get to collect some of the bags that customers use to bring their compost in. I'm exited to be working there because not only I save food scraps but also bags that I know for sure could end in the garbage.
I wanted to mention the story behind the baskets on my shop: www.eatgreen.etsy.com, because from all the items in it they are the ones getting the most attention. So here is a brief story behind it.
I went to the supermarket in my neighborhood rather than the small market I usually go to because circumstances required me to. I paid closed attention to my surroundings. As I suspected, there were grocery plastic bags everywhere. Bags that were not even used were carelessly left in carts, or gathered with garbage-to-be material, or thrown in the floor of the supermarket where customer and employees stepped on them, eventually making them unusable. I picked each single one of them ending up with nine perfectly good-to-upcycle bags.