No Excuse to Not Eat Your Veg: Exponential Access to Fresh and Local.
Three New Coastal Farmers Markets
“Oregon is absolutely the epicenter of this [food systems security] work in the US.” So says Sharon Thornberry, Community Food Systems Manager of the Oregon Food Bank, and player on the national food stage. Another progressive stance we can be proud of. Clatsop and Tillamook Counties are leaders in collaborative efforts to create sustainable food webs and access for all to fresh and local foods. Nowhere is this more evident than in the blossoming of three, count ‘em, three new food markets on the North Coast.
What’s up with all the energy for fresh and local? “People have been asking for a local food farmers market for years,” says Merianne Myers, North Coast Food Web (NCFW) and Astoria Co-op board member, “and now the elements have come together to meet that demand. It’s very exciting.” Myers refers to the emerging River People Farmers Market, slated to open Thursday, June 23, in Astoria, in a to-be-determined downtown location. The market’s mission is to bring the Astoria community a “true farmers market focused on making fresh produce and local food products more available to North Coast residents.” Access for any income level is a key component of this new market, and Myers emphasizes that a downtown location allows access by foot, bike, or bus; the market will accept SNAP (food stamp) benefits and also WIC and Senior Nutrition coupons. The benefits go all the way round, with local producers getting access to direct consumers and an opportunity to break into the local food scene.
The market will operate Thursdays from June 23 through September, and if product and demand and weather conspire favorably, through the end of October. Hours are 3-7pm. Only fresh, farm grown produce and flowers, farm raised and eggs, farm-grown plant starts, locally caught fish, and producer made value-added or ready-to-consume food products will be sold. Music is on tap and opportunities to snack too! River People Farmers Market is a partnership between the North Coast Food Web, Blue Scorcher Bakery, Astoria Co-op, KMUN, and OSU Extension Clatsop County.
Contact Merianne Myers: Tel: 512-964-5949 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.riverpeoplemarket.org.
Meanwhile, across the waters the new Columbia-Pacific Farmers Market, a Friday afternoon market in downtown Long Beach, is scheduled to open on May 6 from 3-7pm and run through September.
“The market will be an authentic, regional market featuring food and produce delivered fresh and direct from those who farm, ranch, fish, produce packaged food, and grow flowers and plants,” remarks Jane Holeman, Market Manager. “The weekly Friday afternoon market will support working food producers, honor their way of life and provide a place to gather as a community to have fun.”
Beyond celebrating local food, the market will offer musical entertainment, education, cooking demonstrations and nutritional information, and games and amusements for the children. Contact Jane Holeman: Tel: 360.244.9155 Email: email@example.com. Web: www.longbeachwa.gov/farmersmarket/
Market action continues not only North but South, with Seaside getting into the game. A Seaside Farmers Market is in development, a project long in coming for the Seaside community. The Sunset Empire Parks & Rec is spearheading the effort, which is currently in the approval process with the City of Seaside and local police and fire departments.
Mary Blake, director of Sunset Empire Parks & Rec, says that a farmers market is an obvious initiative for her organization. “We’ve been asked by the County to participate in the growing health crises of our community. Food that you eat, exercise that you choose to do, even your land stewardship choices impact health. The market offers a gorgeous effort of building community around healthy lives and choices. If you make eating fun, if you help people understand how to prepare and eat it, if you really show that digging in the dirt is incredibly satisfying and healthy for you, then people will make the changes they need to make for health.”
Like the other emerging markets, the Seaside Market will emphasize local food from local producers. Fun, music, and community information will also be available. Contact Mary Blake: Tel: 503-738-3311 x 103 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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