Greenwood Avenue Farmers Market Opens for its 5th Fruitful Season with New Market Manager!
On Monday, June 17, the Capital Area YMCA officially launched Greenwood Avenue Farmers Market’s officially fifth fruitful season. Lead by new Market Manager, Talitha-Koumi “T.K.” Oluwafemi, the Greenwood Ave. Farmers market team of dedicated staff, vendors, health services leaders and sponsors are optimistic that this will be one of the most impactful market seasons to date. In April, Capital YMCA named, Talitha-Koumi “T.K.” Oluwafemi, a Princeton Theological Seminary alum, to serve in the dual role of Market Manager and Assistant Food Access Coordinator. Oluwafemi’s 15 years of experience embodies the spirit of the YMCA’s iconic missional focus, “youth development, healthy living and social development.” Oluwafemi, a champion of anti-hunger initiatives, social change and food justice, brings a wealth of professional knowledge, vocational passion and personal experience to this new role.
Oluwafemi is a mission-focused transformational leader who truly believes in the mission of the Greenwood Ave. Farmers market. The mission of the Greenwood Ave. Farmers Market is to “increase access to healthful, safe, affordable, culturally appropriate food while encouraging communication and collaboration to make Trenton a healthier place to live, work, eat, and play.” Oluwafemi is committed to continue this great legacy by nurturing collaborative partnerships that will increase access to healthy food, holistic health services, nutritional education and physical activity for all Trenton residents, commuters, and visitors.
For the past five years, the market has served as a community centered intergenerational safe haven which enables community leaders to residents, transit commuters, local families and seniors living nearby about the benefits of eating fresh fruits and vegetables, engaging in physical activity and help to engender a greater sense of community for the population at large. The market encourages the public to purchase Jersey Fresh farm products and create economic development opportunities for local Trenton businesses and urban growers through its impactful matching benefit program.
The market accepts SNAP/EBT, WIC and SFMNP vouchers and incentivizes the use of these benefits by providing a dollar-for- dollar match on all purchases. The market is also the first and only Farmers Market in New Jersey to serve as a USDA Summer Meals site, providing free meals to kids and teens each week. Thus far, the Greenwood Avenue market has provided dinners for 300 hungry children in the community and has served 1200 attendees. Further, the market has given out over $2,500 worth of Good Food Bucks and Greenwood Green dollars used to purchase New Jersey fresh produce and healthy food options from the vendors.
The largest number of attendees for this season was recorded during July’s monthly festival held on July 19th-Waterfest Part 1. On a monthly basis, the Greenwood Ave. Farmers market host themed festivals to encourage the community to celebrate food and family-friendly fun. Local Trentonian DJ, Ms. Sue Ms. Sue provided live music as the children enjoyed water fun with water games, water balloons and sliding down the 18-foot water slide provided by LaVelle’s Jumps on one of the hottest days of the summer.
According to Kari Carmody, Bonner Healthy Eating Intern, TCNJ, Class of 2022:
“The Water Fest we had at Greenwood Avenue Farmer’s Market was incredible. We had the most people we had ever show up to the market. Smiles beamed and bright eyes gazed, jumping up and down in excitement to get a turn on the giant 18-foot water slide. Devilish grins spread wide across sun-glistening faces, waiting to ambush their friends with water balloons. Laughter and cheering rings through my ears as I watch the kids I have gotten to know the past couple weeks slide down the water slide. The same smiles and faces I recognized as I serve fresh, nutritious meals to them each week. My experience at the Greenwood Avenue Farmer’s Market has been impactful and moving. I loved interacting directly with members from the community. Listening to their stories and needs, I learned a lot. I was amazed by the strength, adversity, and openness of the members to share about their world. Despite challenges, members of the community still showed camaraderie and love towards each other. Citizens came together as a community at Greenwood Avenue farmer’s Market, to a safe, loving space where their children and teens can be fed and engage in fun activities, where accessibility and incentives to buy fresh fruits and vegetables is provided, education on nutrition, and where health screenings and senior vouchers are accessible.”
This season, Carmody joins Oluwafemi and the Greenwood Ave. Farmers market team of apprentices and volunteers who are now looking forward to the next Waterfest Part II on August 19. Additionally, the Greenwood Avenue team are also planning to incorporate a celebration for the 5th anniversary season of the Farmers Market with the Bike Fest scheduled for September 16. The Greenwood Ave. Farmers market continues to create a space for all people to come together as a community to fellowship in peace for a time during a time when chaos is all around our neighborhoods, cities, country and world.
About the Grantee
The mission of the Greenwood Ave. Farmers Market is to “increase access to healthful, safe, affordable, culturally appropriate food while encouraging communication and collaboration to make Trenton a healthier place to live, work, eat, and play.”