As the weather cools with the change in seasons, the Greenwood Ave. Farmers Market staff reflects on the experience they’ve had since June 15, and its impact on the neighborhood. From Bike Fest where children and adults came together to test their biking skills, receive bike safety equipment, and purchase bicycles and tricycles, to visits with the mayor; from our grand opening with many speakers and representatives to our regular markets on Monday that are filled with produce, music, and smiles; we are always appreciative and humbled by the community that has been cultivated and grown with nutrition as its catalyst.
We have watched a transformation in our customers occur throughout the season. A weary population who were accustomed to unreliable businesses and had learned to not trust new events such as a farmers market, has transitioned into a network of regular patrons who are energetic as they continue conversations with their new friends from the Monday before and encourage their friends and family to join them as they play bingo and shop for healthy food items. Those who were shy to be approached in the beginning are now the ones engaging our staff enthusiastically about what recipes they used last week and which produce they are excited about this week. It is easy for us to enjoy ourselves at the market as our customers usually have a joke or kind word to share, and readily convey to us their appreciation for what the market brings to the neighborhood.
We are pleased with our attendance for the market, as more than 3,200 people have visited the market to shop from June until September. Almost $1,460 in incentives have been distributed through our membership in programs such as the Greenwood Green Program and City Green’s Good Food Bucks Program with Wholesome Wave. These are incentives for customers with benefits such as SNAP/EBT, WIC, and FMNP to use them at the market and we match their purchases $1 for $1. Many locals benefited by the provided health services. Henry J. Austin served 112 patients during the market. Their services included nutrition consulting, asthma, HIV counseling and testing, information on insurance and the Affordable Care Act, and body mass index (BMI) readings. Horizon saw 60 patients throughout the Farmers Market and their services included blood glucose testing, blood pressure screenings, and body mass index (BMI) readings. The Impact Van served 151 patients during the market. Their services included body mass index (BMI) readings, blood pressure screenings, blood glucose testing, HbA1c’s for diabetes, and glaucoma and vision screenings.
The community has shown us they are grateful for the market’s contribution to Trenton. The customers, vendors, services, DJs, and our own staff have all been influenced by being a part of growing a culture of health and bringing diverse populations together. We are glad to be introduced to each other through the means of nutrition and wellness, and intend to continue to strengthen our lives as we move forward as a communal unit. We are glad the surrounding area of the once vacant parking lot on the corner of Hudson and Greenwood Ave. have embraced the market into their lives. We are so happy to be there.