Often times, we limit ourselves to certain vendors and suppliers due to a lack of time, money, or maybe even knowledge. However, this doesn’t have to be the case when it comes to the places where we acquire our food.
Photo by Rachel Hulin
Rhode Island is the smallest state, yet is also home to New England’s largest indoor farmers market, as well as another 35+ farmers markets. These markets operate primarily in areas with limited access to fresh food– namely urban areas and other food deserts– and play an important role in increasing the availability and accessibility of local produce by connecting eaters with a reliable source for nutritious, locally sourced options.
Farm Fresh Rhode Island is a nationally recognized nonprofit organization dedicated to growing a local food system that values the environment, health, and quality of life of the farmers and eaters in the region. This season, The Downtown Providence Parks Conservancy partnered with this organization to bring vibrant, healthy, sustainable food to Kennedy Plaza every Tuesday afternoon from 3pm- 6pm. With this partnership, comes Farm Fresh RI’s “Healthy Foods, Healthy Families” nutrition education programming. The program delivers fun, interactive activities to families that receive federal food assistance (WIC or SNAP) and, through interactive workshops, empower parents and children to learn about affordable, seasonal food and how to prepare it in healthy ways that kids will love.
A Health Promotion Perspectives study concluded that interventions combining exposure activities and modest financial incentives at farmers’ markets show strong potential to improve diet quality of families receiving federal food assistance. Offered in English and Spanish, as a way to create an incentive for visitors, families can receive free samples, games, recipes, financial incentives, and other bonuses for each week of participation.
“We’re here. Come check us out because it’s a great way to interact with farmers and know where your food comes from.” said Taylor and Charlotte (above), this Summer’s Downtown Providence “Healthy Foods, Healthy Families” program coordinators. “Farmers markets can be cheaper than going to the supermarket.”
Blog post written by Gia Rivas, as part of Mayor Elorza’s Advanced Internship Pilot