We are excited and proud to introduce the NGFM Healthy Living program!
In our County, there are many families who are food insecure meaning they do not always have enough money to get the food they need, much less have access to quality local food and we believe everyone deserves that!
We recognize that there are families who would like to shop at the Market but face a number of barriers including financial and social barriers. We have been trying to figure out a way to make the Market more accessible to these families for awhile. E
BC has an established provincial program being run with their Farmers Markets and Wolfville has run one successfully for the last few years as well. Of course we have been wanting to make this happen for our County and with a little help from our friends, we are able to do just that!
The NGFM Healthy Living Program will provide 10 low income families with $100 in Market Money for 7 months. We wanted to make sure that it continued through Christmas as this is often the hardest time for families. The total investment in this program is $7,000. This program is fully funded by the Aberdeen Health Foundation with in kind support from Kids First and the New Glasgow Farmers Market.
Kids First is a charitable organization that serves low income families with children. We approached Kids First because they have families with children and we wanted to give the kids the opportunity to have a good start in learning about local food and all that shopping at the Market has to offer them. This opportunity not only gives families access to healthy food, but they also get the added benefit of social interaction and the feeling of inclusion in our community, something that can be difficult for these families.
For some of these families, the Market seems unattainable and intimidating. These families struggle for necessities and may not be able to afford little luxuries, like a nice bar of soap or a toy for their child, much less healthy local food. These little luxuries and something like eating out are often something that other people do. These families may not know the process of ordering fresh cuts of meat or had the opportunity to eat some of the unique produce at the Market, so much of this will be new to them.
These families will attend a Market info session to help them understand what to expect. Together, we will be addressing their concerns with them to help make these processes less intimidating and help them to feel comfortable.
These families will have access to programming that will help with nutritional education, food preparation and more. This program will be administered with kindness, respect and dignity, free of stigma.
This program also does double, even triple duty. As always, 100% of Market Money, including the Market Money from this program, spent at the Market goes directly to vendors (as it always does). So at the same time as these families benefit, local farmers, food producers and artisans that sell at the Market also benefit. They make their livelihood and in turn will spend their money in the community and then those businesses benefit too! A ripple effect, like a drop in a pond!
This is a win-win-win, especially for families, but vendors and the community as a whole.
These families will now have access to healthy local food. They will be able to be part of a community where they may have felt isolation before. Hopefully we will be able to illustrate to them that the Market is a comfortable place and that items are not as expensive as they think and that eating local, healthy food IS within their reach. These families will get to listen to music, they can take their child to lunch or buy them a special treat, maybe they can buy a roast or try some micro greens or a new variety of beet or carrot. Maybe they can buy a nice bar of soap or enjoy some gluten free bread that they may not have been able to afford before. Perhaps they can buy a toy for their child’s birthday and at Christmas they can have a turkey.
This is about whole health and increasing quality of life and adding tools to the kids toolbox to help them make great choices that will set them on the right path as they grow up. This is about everyone being part of the community and the Market giving back.
If the program is successful and feedback from the families are positive, we will find a way to run it again. Someday maybe we will also have a provincially run program! Dream big.
We would like to thank the Wolfville Farmers Market and the Farmers Market of Nova Scotia for helping us along the way, the team at Kids First and of course the Aberdeen Health Foundation for making this program possible!
Thank YOU for supporting the Market and coming out to shop with us every week. It is because of your support that we have the encouragement to keep doing better.