NEWPORT â€“ The Green Mountain Farm to School (GMFS) program is taking to the roads this summer with a mobile unit allowing for easy access to locally grown, affordable foods.
This project comes through support from Senator Bernie Sanders and the USDA Farmersâ€™ Market Promotion Program.
In October, Sanders announced two grants totaling $165,555 for the Green Mountain Farm Direct and the Northeast Organic Farming Association to expand access to locally-produced food for Vermont seniors, low-income families and others.
"These worthwhile projects will increase Vermonters' access to fresh, healthy, locally-produced foods," Sanders said in a press release.
Green Mountain Farm Direct in Newport, a program under GMFS, is slated to receive $97,029 to build the mobile farmers market that will deliver fresh foods to senior meal sites, low-income housing sites, and community centers throughout Essex and Orleans Counties.
The mobile market, which is a big bus equipped with refrigeration and a prep kitchen, will travel to local farms to buy food and make deliveries to senior meal sites, low-income housing facilities, and community centers throughout the region.
Each week the mobile unit will be packed with fresh food from 15 local farms and bring it to the designated â€śfood desertsâ€ť in the Northeast Kingdom.
The schedule is as follows: Tuesdays from 10-1 in Island Pond, Tuesdays from 2:30-6 in Irasburg, Wednesdays from 10-2 in North Troy, and Wednesdays from 3-6 in Newport.
EBT cards, along with Harvest to Market coupons and Farm to Family coupons, will be accepted for payment.
Katherine Sims, the executive director and founder of GMFS, explained that the idea comes from urban areas that already have mobile farmers markets. She said this program will allow access to the locally grown food at affordable prices. In addition to the Local foods which will be available to buy, there will be demonstrations on how to utilize the local foods, such as making soups.
â€śAs the local food movement concentrates itself in urban centers, many rural Communities are struggling with food access issues, despite being Surrounded by farms,â€ť Sims said.
Over the last four years, Sims, through GMFS, has built school gardens, delivered local food to school and other institutions, and educated children about healthy food choices.
For more information about Green Mountain Farm-to-School, visit www.GreenMountainFarmtoSchool.org.
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