NGFM Healthy Living Program

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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.

Healthy Living Program

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.

 

So You Think You Can Shop- Farmers Market Edition

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Insider Tips and Tricks from a Market Manager

Farmers Markets are so unique, shopping at them is an experience unlike any other. Not only are they unique from other places you shop, but they also vary greatly from each other.  Farmers Markets are made up of locally raised foods and hand crafted items unique to the geographic areas they are in. You will  find items that reflect the local culture and spirit of the surrounding communities. Farmers Markets offer face to face interaction, lowers the carbon footprint and there’s a direct and transparent supply chain.  These are just a couple of the reasons among many that illustrates why people shop at Farmers Markets.  While you can certainly just go to the Market, there are ways that you can ensure you get the most out of your Market experience.

As someone who organizes the Market each week, it’s easy for us on the Market side to just assume that you know all these intricacies but alas, you know what they say about assuming!  That being said I thought it might be handy to give you a bit of an inside look at how things work and that might help you get the very best out of your Market trips. I’m going to call it Market Shopping 101…I hope you find these things useful.

  1. PLAN AHEADNGFM List
  • Make a list of all the things you really need at the Market and the things you want to check out a little closer. Once at the Market, you will want to take your time to look around and see everything there is to see, but you don’t want to forget what you came for. Nothing is more frustrating than getting home to find out you forgot your lettuce.
  • The best way to plan ahead is to know who is coming to Market. Each week we post a poster that lists all the causal vendors that come to the Market for the coming Saturday. These are the ones who aren’t with us every week and we do it so that you know who is new and you can see if this is the week that a certain vendor is with us.  You will also find that starting on about Wednesday and Thursday, we really start posting all the interesting items you will find on Saturday to social media. Pay attention to these posts and then if you see anything that catches your eye, write it on the “Check it Out” section of your list. If you aren’t seeing these posts in your social media feed, make a point of going to our page to take a look for yourself…Facebook only shows you so much.
  • **keep in mind that the Market is home to more than 70 individual business owners, so there may be last minute changes. That may mean we weren’t able to advertise a vendor due to a last minute addition or they aren’t at Market as advertised to to an unexpected absence.

2. COME PREPARED

  • Bring your reusable bags and try to bring some smaller bills and change with you. Keep in mind that while vendors are advised to keep a supply of change on hand, when they get several $20 bills in a row, especially on small items first thing in the morning, it makes it very difficult for them to make change. It might seem like a little thing but they will be very grateful for your thoughtfulness.
  • If you are coming for awhile or maybe going somewhere else after the Market, bring a cooler with you to store your meat and veggies. This will save you the disappointment of spoilage due to a hot car later on.

3. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE WELCOME TABLE

  • Not the most imaginative name, but we are welcoming, so that’s a thing. Have a question or need some general information? We are here to help. We do move the table from time to time due to space availability, but we are always there. We can answer questions, help you if you’re looking for a certain item or vendor and we have 50/50 tickets for sale as well as Market swag. If you need help with something out to your car, one of our volunteers can help!

4.  GO AHEAD, MAKE IT A DAYmeals-master

  • We work hard at making the Market a place you want to be and hang out at on a Saturday morning and we hope that you make it part of your weekly routine. We know that you likely have other things to do, but if you can possibly swing it, set the time aside and make a point to spend time at the Market and really look around. Have a bite to eat…come for breakfast and stay for lunch and shop in between. We’re not rushing you, we want you to spend time with us!
  • As an organizer we sometimes have to move vendors around so you may find that your vendor isn’t always in the same spot. This is usually out of organizational necessity or requirement, but it also keeps you looking and you might find something new that you haven’t seen before.
  • The great thing about small producers and artisans is that they have the flexibility to change items, so really look at their tables and see what’s new. Don’t be afraid to stop, they’re happy to see you!
  • We have lots of local music at the Market. They come to play for you out of passion for what they do and out of their appreciation for the Market.  They will have an open case, show them your appreciation!
  • Make two full laps around the Market. On your first pass, stop and look at everything, remember that list? Use it to write things down and remember where you found them. On your second pass, go back to those things and purchase them!
  • Stop and talk to your friends and neighbors and make it a social day out, just be sure that your conversation isn’t blocking other patrons from reaching a vendors table. It makes it hard for vendors to earn their livelihood if customers can’t get to them!

5.  ENGAGE! ENQUIRING MINDS WANT TO KNOW

  • Vendors are at the Market because they are passionate about what they do and you as a consumer have the unique opportunity to talk to the very person that grew, surprise-me-weekly-coffee-subscription-coffeexperts-ESX8fy-clipartmade or baked the item you are considering purchasing. Find out about their processes, more about their farm, what makes them tick. Your farmers and artisans are proud of what they have produced and they would love to share it with you. Don’t be afraid to take an interest!

6.  VARIETY IS THE SPICE OF LIFE

  • Try something new. Every time. Pick up at least one new thing every time you come to the Market. We have so many interesting items. And if you’re not sure what to do with them, ask your producer. They are usually armed with tried and true recipes and new uses for those awesome things.

7.  BUY IN SEASONcanstockphoto1455452

  • Remember, everything is locally grown. If you are looking for fresh picked strawberries in December, you are going to be disappointed. Know what’s in season and when it’s coming up. We have info about that at the Welcome table we mentioned above.
  • At the same time, when something is in season, buy lots of it and preserve it by freezing, canning etc. That way, you can still have local strawberries in December.

8. DON’T SEE IT? ASK ABOUT IT.

  • When you are shopping with a vendor  and you see an item that isn’t exactly the colour or size you wanted or they don’t have the item you were looking for, ask! Yes, you can do that! Some vendors may be willing or able to custom make an item for you or may have one in stock at home that they just didn’t bring with them. Remember, it never hurts to ask!

9.  SHARE WITH US

  • Show or tell vendors how you are using their products. It will make them feel great and perhaps even give them a new idea on how to utilize their product.
  • Share your market finds with us. Post your photos to our facebook page or share on Instagram @ngfarmmarket with the hashtag #myngfmfinds We may share it but it shows others how clever you are with your Market finds. We also love recipes using our vendors products or seeing how that art piece looks in your home….just sayin’ngfmfinds

10. SPREAD THE WORD

  • Ask friends and neighbours if they have been to the market before. Tell them, show them or feed them the amazing items you found at the Market. Bring your visitors for a unique morning out. Farmers Markets have a large and positive local economic impact in their communities. When you shop with our vendors, your money is going directly to them and their families. When they have to make, bake or grow more, they have to buy more. They register their kids in community programs, shop at other local businesses, all from money earned at the Market. They are spending and re-investing that money in the community.

buy local