We have shared on previous occasions the benefits of organic farming. Well, getting affordable organic produce to neighborhoods who don’t have a single grocery store is commendable task, and the mission of Farmshare Austin. The non-profit organization received a grant from the city to help launch the program, which will make designated weekly stops in neighborhoods around Austin that lack access to organic fruits and veggies.
“Large areas of the city and county do not have full-service grocery stores, and it can be difficult for people in these places to get fresh, affordable food for themselves and their families,” [says] Taylor Cook, Farmshare Austin’s executive director. The market will target four areas, for now, that need the service most, and it will park in each district through an afternoon and evening. Cook says besides offering fresh seasonal produce from the organization’s 7-acre organic farm, they will also offer other staples, like cooking oil, on hand, so residents will have access to everything they need to cook a meal. The program accepts SNAP benefits and participates in the Sustainable Food Center’s Double Dollars program, allowing consumers using food assistance to double their buyer power for fruits and vegetables. The pilot program will begin next month and run through the end of December. Cook says they hope to expand the mobile farmers market program in the coming years.
This rollout is only one of several mobile farmers markets to launch across the country. Similar creative solutions have launched in places as diverse as New Orleans, Washington DC, and central Arkansas.
At Farmshare Austin, the mobile market also provides a learning opportunity. Founded in 2013 to train the next generation of farmers in central Texas and to address local food access issues, among other objectives, the organization operates a 20-week organic farming program called “Farmer Starter” in Garfield, about 20 minutes southeast of Austin. There, students learn how to manage a sustainable farming business, and those same trainees will staff the mobile market as part of their coursework.
“Everyone’s really excited about this program,” says Cook. “It’s a big deal for many people to finally have easy access to fresh, local produce.”
Read the original article here.