Harvest Home Farmer's Market Receives $92,000 Grant From USDA

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Harvest Home Farmer's Market, operator of 16 open-air farmer's markets in the Bronx, Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn, received a $92,000 grant from USDA's 2010 Farmer's Market Promotion Program. The funds will be used to increase the use of Food Stamps at the markets and implement nutrition education programming in the communities served by Harvest Home.

"Our goal is to make the farmer's market a community gathering center, where residents can shop for nutritious food, participate in activities and education programs, and spend an enjoyable time socializing with friends and family."

Harvest Home Farmer’s Market, operator of 16 open-air farmer’s markets in the Bronx, Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn, is one of the recipients of USDA’s 2010 Farmer’s Market Promotion Program (FMPP), receiving over $92,000 in grant funds to increase the use of Food Stamps at new and existing markets and provide nutrition education programming to the communities it serves.

“It has been a challenge providing access to locally-grown, farm-fresh produce to New York City communities in need,” states Maritza Wellington Owens, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Harvest Home Farmer’s Market. “The USDA grant gives us the capacity to increase community outreach, develop culturally-appropriate marketing strategies to expand our customer base, and educate residents about the health benefits of eating farm-fresh foods and how to prepare them on a regular basis.”

In preparation and anticipation of Thanksgiving, Harvest Home’s THANKSGROWING event will raise awareness about the importance of the farmer’s market for purchasing fresh produce items to prepare meals during the holiday season. The event will take place on Thursday, November 18, 2010 at the East Harlem Farmer’s Market on 104th Street and Third Avenue from 11:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M. and will feature an award presentation to the winning class of the Pens, Pumpkins and P.S. 72 Poster Contest.

Fourth and fifth grade classes from P.S. 72, located in East Harlem on 104th Street, have been asked to work together to create a poster that conveys the importance of the farmer’s market to their community. In partnership with Harvest Home, Spoons Across America®, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to educating children, teachers and families about the benefits of healthy eating, has developed guidelines for judging the posters and will select the winning poster.

The winning class will be awarded with a shopping tour and Health Bucks to spend at the market, as well as treated to a Thanksgiving feast prepared by a team of local chefs led by Dan Kohler, host and chef of RenegadeKitchen.com and actor whose credits include Blue Man Group, Godspell, and Law and Order: Special Victims Unit.

"The Pens, Pumpkins and P.S. 72 poster contest is a great opportunity for the students," says Antonio Hernandez, Principal of P.S. 72 Lexington Academy. "To illustrate their understanding of what the Harvest Home Farmer's Market means to their community is one thing. To eat a meal prepared by a chef from the seasonal produce available at the market, that is an experience they'll surely remember."

“When we met with the students at P.S. 72 to explain the poster contest, we couldn’t believe how much they already knew about their local farmer’s markets and how excited they were to tell us of their experiences shopping at them,” says Owens. “Our goal with Harvest Home is to make the farmer’s market a community gathering center, where residents can shop for nutritious food, participate in activities and education programs, and spend an enjoyable time socializing with friends and family.”

About Harvest Home Farmer’s Market
Harvest Home Farmer’s Market is a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing access to locally-grown, farm-fresh produce for communities in need, educating the public about health and nutrition, and supporting local agriculture. By operating open-air farmer’s markets, Harvest Home creates a community gathering place that encourages positive social interaction, cultural expression, micro-enterprise, part-time job opportunities and information exchange in a culturally-diverse and community-driven market place. For more info, visit http://www.harvesthomefm.org.

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Rachel Begun

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