Friday, August 31, 2012

Feast Down East's Mobile Market brings healthy food to Wilmington residents

Since November 2011, VISTA Olivia Dorsey has been working in Wilmington, NC and surrounding counties to give low-income residents greater access to healthy, locally grown food. Olivia works with Feast Down East, an initiative begun by UNCW's Dr. Leslie Hossfeld that aims to create a "fully integrated local food system" by helping small farmers in the region gain access to various markets, including restaurants and grocers.

Olivia has led the development of a weekly farmer's market in the Rankin Terrace public housing community through a partnership with the Wilmington Housing Authority (WHA). Olivia recruited local farmers to supply the market, which utilizes a 2-tier pricing policy so WHA residents can purchase produce at reduced cost. Since the market began in April, 162 customers have shopped there. Community volunteers have put in 156 hours of service setting up and managing the market.

A recent local news report explores the issue of food deserts and highlights the mobile market project (click HERE if you are having trouble viewing the video below):

WECT, weather

Oliva has worked to leverage other resources to support the project, including applying for permission to accept SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits. She has also partnered with the Food Bank of Southeastern NC to coordinate a gleaning program that gives community members an opportunity to harvest surplus produce from local farms and gardens; and she have worked with the NC Cooperative Extension office in her county to bring Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) classes to WHA youth and families.