Mobile Farmers’ Market to Bring More Fresh, Local Food to Residents thanks to $180,000 grant from Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation.
NEW BEDFORD, MASS. (September 18, 2019) — At Preservation of Affordable Housing’s (POAH) Temple Landing in New Bedford this morning, Mayor Jon Mitchell, Department of Agricultural Resources Commissioner John Lebeaux, and other state and local officials joined Coastal Foodshed and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation to officially launch New Bedford’s new year-round Mobile Farm Stand. The $180,000 grant from Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation to Coastal Foodshed for the Mobile Farm Stand will be awarded over three years.
Kim Ferreira, Co-Founder of Coastal Foodshed, along with Stephanie Perks, said the goal of the new Mobile Farm Stand will be to provide access to local foods in communities within its service region.
“Our mobile farm stand will be selling affordable fruits and vegetables, grown locally on area farms, directly to New Bedford residents where they live and work,” said Ferreira. “We are particularly focused on neighborhoods that do not have easy access to fresh food or have high concentrations of low-income or food-insecure residents.”
This is the third mobile farmers’ market of its kind in the state – Harvard Pilgrim Foundation also helps fund the Regional Environmental Council’s (REC) Mobile Market in Worcester, and Mill City Grow’s Mobile Market, making stops across Lowell.
“At Harvard Pilgrim, we know that health prevention often starts with accessing and eating fresh healthy food, and for some, that can be challenging,” said Karen Voci, President of the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation. “Across the country, organizations are using mobile markets to improve access to fresh and local fruits and vegetables. Here in New England, Harvard Pilgrim has funded a fleet of mobile markets because we have evidence this strategy is working and creating better access to good food for those who need it most.”
In addition to the three Mobile Markets in Mass., Harvard Pilgrim has funded mobile markets in Manchester and along the Seacoast of N.H., Hartford, Conn., and Lewiston-Auburn, Maine. An additional mobile market will launch in October in Bridgeport, Conn. Coastal Foodshed’s Mobile Farm Stand will continue to make stops at three locations in the city, as well as Pop-Up markets for community partners.
“Increasing the availability and accessibility of healthy nutritious food for everyone in our community is part of our mission, and we are very grateful for the support of our partners, funders, area businesses and community members to make this resource a reality,” said Ferreira. “By sourcing fruit and vegetables – as well as eggs, meat, and honey — grown on local farms, we hope this market will also support farmers in their own growth.”
The Mobile Farm Stand will accept EBT/SNAP benefits for purchases and will also run incentive programs that are aimed at helping low-income individuals stretch their dollars at markets and purchase more fresh, local and healthy food.
The Mobile Farm Stand will make the following scheduled stops:
3:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Former Taylor Elementary School
620 Brock Avenue, New Bedford, MA
3:00 pm – 5:00pm
Temple Landing Housing
370 Middle Street, New Bedford, MA
2:00 pm – 4:00pm
Alma del Mar Charter School
515 Belleville Ave., New Bedford, MA
Chef Rhonda M. Fazio, of Environmental Alchemy, conducted a live cooking demonstration featuring local products from the Mobile Farm Stand at today’s event.
Other funders and supporters of the Mobile Farm Stand include Alma Del Mar, the City of New Bedford, the Mass. Department of Agricultural Resources, Edible South Shore/South Coast, Hawthorn Medical, Southcoast Health, and Rockland Trust Charitable Foundation.
To learn more about the project, visit www.coastalfoodshed.org. To follow the Mobile Farm Stand and get updates on stops and other information, follow Coastal Foodshed on Instagram @coastalfoodshed or Facebook @Coastalfoodshed
The Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation
Created in 1980, The Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation supports Harvard Pilgrim’s corporate mission to improve the quality and value of health care for the people and communities we serve. The Harvard Pilgrim Foundation provides the tools, training and leadership to help build healthy communities throughout Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. In 2018, the Harvard Pilgrim Foundation awarded nearly $1.25 million in grants to 855 nonprofit organizations in the region. Since its inception, the Foundation has awarded $150 million in funds throughout the four states. For more information, please visit www.harvardpilgrim.org/foundation.
Coastal Foodshed’s mission is to strengthen the Southcoast’s local food economy by making it easier for growers to sell, and consumers to buy, healthy, affordable, local foods. Coastal Foodshed grew out of the work of Mass in Motion New Bedford (MiM NB), which was created through the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to affect policy, systems, and environment changes in the areas of healthy eating and active living.