Building Community with Good Food
After a long, hot summer, here at City Green we are breathing a sigh of relief as we enter a season of cooler weather, fall foliage, and delicious autumn squashes! We’re past the mid-point of the Garden State Good Food Network farmers market season, and the powerful impact our group has had on New Jersey residents by making healthy local food affordable and accessible through the Good Food Buck SNAP-doubling program is at the forefront of our minds.
Despite the obstacles presented by the pandemic, our farmers markets continue to offer a sense of stability and community. At Grow it Green Morristown, Executive Director Lisa Alexander shares the importance of Good Food Bucks to their Urban Farm Stand:
“Being able to offer fresh produce at low cost, that neighbors and community members can easily and safely access by walking, biking or driving, particularly during the pandemic while we are outside is such a wonderful program. Knowing where the fresh food comes from and having confidence in how it is grown is amazing, and add to that partnering with the Good Foods Bucks program, and it is a great, positive program. We have doubled our SNAP and incentive sales over last year at this time, and are seeing sales increase as more people learn about the program.”
In West Windsor, collaborative community connections are helping new people to find the local farmers market and build strong relationships. Market Manager Gretchen Jaeckel shares how she’s connected with the shoppers:
“It is nice to see new customers at our market this season. We made connections with our local food pantry and our school system to reach families who are assisted by the free/reduced lunch program, since many of them also receive SNAP benefits. One customer is disabled and does not have a car, so I pick her and her two sons (5 & 10) up to come shop at our market. I see first hand how much they enjoy shopping at our market. The boys love to pick out their fresh fruits and veggies and the youngest enjoys counting out the SNAP and Good Food Buck tokens to pay for their produce. Just being able to help one family is awesome.”
And it’s not just Good Food Buck staff who are feeling the impact. At the New Brunswick Community Farmers Market, one customer, a single mother and essential healthcare worker, expresses her excitement and gratitude about the program:
“I love it! It’s really a great help… I work at a hospital, and for some time we had CDC required training for COVID, with [limited] pay. As a single mother of a daughter with special needs, this helps so much! And everything is so fresh! I’ve been coming here for a while, and know [the farmer] well. I really hope the program continues!”
In a difficult and trying year, we are so proud of our communities and Good Food Buck partners for coming together, supporting one another, and making sure that everyone has high-quality local fruits and veggies on their tables. We can’t wait to continue sharing uplifting stories of our network’s impactful work!
Photo courtesy of Greenwood Ave. Farmers Market (Trenton, NJ)
About the Grantee
City Green is a 501(c)3 urban farming and gardening organization, based in Clifton, New Jersey working to revitalize New Jersey communities through agriculture, educational programming, and food access initiatives.