ARLINGTON, Va. (WDVM) — The FRESHFARM Farmers Market in Ballston’s Welburn Square feeds about 150 hungry families each week. It’s called the Pop-up Food Hub: the nonprofit partners with other community organizations to make fresh fruits and vegetables available to families in low-income areas.
One of those community organizations is the National Landing Business Improvement District, which just secured $25,000 from the Consumer Technology Association, Amazon, JBG Smith, and individual donors for its Farm-to-Families initiative. The program provides produce to vulnerable members of the Arlington community. Thanks to those donations, FRESHFARM, and the BID say the organizations will continue feeding families through the fall.
It’s a plus for hungry families, and farmer and owner of Mickley’s Orchard & Farm Market Bill Mickley say it’s a win-win. “I’m able to come to market and also bring the items that they chose for that week along with me. We grew up eating off the farm so you never had to worry about going hungry. I’ve always looked at and for me to be able to help to be one of the people to give that to the families? It is awesome.”
FRESHFARM Director of Programs Dalila Boclin says grocery stores and corner markets in underserved communities don’t always have high quality produce options.
“Which then creates the perception that, ‘Oh this farmer’s market’s not for me,’” she said. “And our mission is to create an inclusive and equitable food system. So by bringing that food into the spaces where residents already are, we’re able to start breaking down those barriers and hopefully bring people into this farmer’s market space.”
Mickley and about 14 other farmers bring extra produce with them to Thursday’s farmers market. FRESHFARM unloads their trucks and divvies up the fruits and veggies into bags. The bags are delivered by FRESHFARM vans or even by taxis.
With no end to the pandemic in sight, the BID is asking the public to contribute, too. A $15 donation purchases a week of produce for one family. A $60 donation stocks a family’s pantry for a month.
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