SOMERSWORTH FARMERS MARKET IMPROVING ACCESS TO FRESH PRODUCE AND HEALTHY FOOD

Somersworth Farmers MarketSOMERSWORTH, October 29, 2015 — The Somersworth Farmers Market wrapped up its first season on Thursday, September 24 and met its goal of improving access to fresh produce and reducing disparities to accessing healthy food.

This season, SNAP/EBT members accessed a total of $5,799 to spend at the farmers market, $4,531 of which was distributed as free incentives through programs like market match and close the gap.

Through the partnership with Seacoast Eat Local the Somersworth Farmers Market provided SNAP/EBT users with a weekly market match of up to $10.  If a SNAP/EBT recipient spent $10 on their SNAP/EBT card they received an additional $10 free to spend on fruits and vegetables each week at the market. Additionally, all SNAP/EBT customers received $20 free to spend on food at the market during the last week of the month as part of a program called “Close the Gap.” Close The Gap aimed to bridge the gap between the time that SNAP/EBT recipients ran low or out of benefits, and when their EBT cards were refilled.

The Somersworth Farmers Market was an initiative of the Strafford County Public Health Network (SCPHN) and Goodwin Community Health to address the obesity/nutrition public health priority identified by the Strafford County Public Health Advisory Council. Improving access to fresh produce and reducing disparities to accessing healthy food were the goals of the Somersworth Farmers Market that completed its first season last month.

The success of the market was made possible by financial support from the Public Health Network and Stonewall Kitchen, partnership with Seacoast Eat Local and many volunteers from Goodwin Community Health.  Additionally, the WIC program administered through Goodwin Community Health made a significant impact on the success of this market by assisting us in outreaching to its service population of SNAP/EBT users.

Local farmers, volunteers and staff of the Strafford County Public Health Network gather to close out the inaugural season of the Somersworth Farmers Market.
Local farmers, volunteers and staff of the Strafford County Public Health Network gather to close out the inaugural season of the Somersworth Farmers Market.

“Making such a positive impact in our community during our inaugural season of this market is remarkable. The SNAP/EBT numbers truly reflect the need in the community and the success we had in reaching our goals of reducing disparities and increasing access to healthy food,” said Liz Clark, Somersworth Farmers Market Manager and Community Health Improvement Coordinator, Strafford County Public Health Network

The Somersworth Farmers Market is looking forward to bringing back the market next year from June through September.  More information can be found Goodwinch.org/community/farmers-market or on the Somersworth Farmers Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SomersworthFarmersMarket

More information about the Strafford County Public Health Network can be found at www.scphn.org

SOMERSWORTH HAS FIRST FARMERS MARKET

Bringing healthy food to where it is needed most is one of the goals of the first Somersworth Farmers Market.

By Judi Currie
jcurrie@fosters.com

June 05. 2015 4:37PM

SOMERSWORTH — Bringing healthy food to where it is needed most is one of the goals of the first Somersworth Farmers Market.

Set up on the campus of Goodwin Community Health (GCH), organizers celebrated the new venture with a ribbon cutting on Thursday.

Each week vendors will be bringing fresh fruits and vegetables, meat and maple syrup to Somersworth.

Lara Willard, director of marketing and community relations at GCH, said it is their hope that the market will help with one of the program’s goals — reducing obesity in Strafford County.

“We have a couple of areas that are considered food deserts in Somersworth, where there’s a lack of access to fresh food,” Willard said. “So we’re trying to bring access to nutrition and healthy food.”

Liz Clark, public health prevention coordinator for GCH, manages the farmers market. She said a group of volunteers helped make the market a reality. “We figured this was a very good location right off Route 108, a bus stop right out front and it’s a high-traffic area,” Clark said.

Goodwin Community Health partnered with Strafford County Public Health Network to set up the farmers market.

An additional partnership with Seacoast Local allows people to use SNAP benefits. Formerly known as food stamps, SNAP benefits come in the form of debit cards to be used at stores.

Sherri Nixon of Seacoast Eat Local said they run a customer’s SNAP card and give them tokens to use at the market.

“We also give them a market match coupon for $10 good for fruits and vegetables,” Nixon said. “It not only allows them to use their benefit at the farmers market, it gives them an incentive to shop as well.”

Nixon said because products grown locally don’t spend hours in trucks, buying at the farmers market is good for both the local economy and the environment.

The SNAP match is also available at summer farmers markets in Dover, Durham, Portsmouth and Exeter, and winter markets in Rollinsford and Exeter.

Dan Comte, of the Root Seller Farm in Nottingham, had a wide variety of dried beans for sale.

“Our primary rotation in the fields is potatoes, beans and wheat,” Comte said. “We should have potatoes by the Fourth of July. In the gardens we have a handful of smaller seasonal vegetables.”

Deborah Sousane of Greenleaf Farms in Dover brought an assortment of fresh baby green and some starter plants of eggplant and tomato along with soaps and flowers.

Leaven Beer and Bread House of downtown Somersworth had a variety of breads and fresh-baked pretzels.

At the Family Busyness table, Patricia Gingrich showed off her handmade tea cozies, baby blankets, pillows and bibs.

Willow Creek Sugar House, LLC of East Kingston had a variety of maple products.

Marybeth Stocking and Jordan Pike of Two Toad Farm are in the eighth year as full-time farmers in Lebanon, Maine. They had a large selection of fresh vegetables and some seedlings.

Pike said he is excited to be a part of the farmers market and really likes Goodwin’s approach to healthcare.

“The fact that they want to do something like this matches well with what Two Toad Farm is all about: getting food to the people,” Pike said. “It’s important for people to have access to fresh local food and not just options that are trucked in from far away or processed.”

Sanborn Hope Farm offered pasture-raised pork and grass-fed beef. Located in Rochester, they are open weekends and also have chicken.

Other vendors included Pheasant Ridge Farm and Shady Mountain Farm.

Clark said Blueberry Hill Farm would join the market once the blueberry crop comes in.

Joseph Gelinas, shopping with his wife, Irene, said he was in GCH and saw a flier about the market and is really looking forward to having fresh, local produce all summer.

“This is the first time I’ve seen this in Somersworth. You could go to Dover, but why not Somersworth? We’re a city, too,” Gelinas said. “As the months go by they’ll have tomatoes and cucumbers and you know it is going to be fresh.”

Mary Moynihan, outreach and enrollment specialist for GCH, set up a table with information about health insurance. They provide assistance to people who want to sign up for either the Affordable Care Act or the NH Health Protection Program.

Mayor Dana Hilliard said he is filled with pride that the city has its first farmers market. “This is great for the community, it is great for the residents and a great day for Somersworth,” Hilliard said.

The Somersworth Farmers Market will be open every Thursday from 3 to 6 p.m. now through Sept. 24.

This Fosters article can be found at: http://www.fosters.com/article/20150605/NEWS/150609577