WORCESTER, Mass. - The Regional Environmental Council is once again taking their farmers market on the road this summer in an effort to make sure everyone has access to healthy food.
What You Need To Know
- The Regional Environmental Council's Mobile Farmers Market stops began on Tuesday
- Each week, the REC makes 12 stops in Worcester, two in Southbridge and two in Webster
- Shoppers are able to use SNAP benefits and the Healthy Incentive Program
- REC's standing farmers markets at Beaver Brook Park and University Park open June 23
The first stop of the year was at the Webster Square Towers in Worcester, where dozens of people were lined up to buy some produce.
Ashley Carter, REC’s farmers market coordinator, said it’s exciting to have an important community resource back on the road. According to REC, one in three children in the communities they serve live in a family unable to meet its basic needs for food.
“The Mobile Farmers Market aims to bring local produce in from local farmers into the city into various locations, helping people who have difficulty with mobility, transportation and affordability,” Carter said. “All the produce can be bought with SNAP benefits.”
Carter said healthy food and locally grown produce can often feel out of reach for families living in places like the Webster Square Towers, and meeting them where they are at 12 locations throughout Worcester and two each in Webster and Southbridge can help bridge the gap.
“Markets are very busy, and there’s a lot of moving pieces,” Carter said. “We work with farmers to get them the right wholesale pricing, they have to come into the city so we coordinate that piece. Worcester Housing Authority we work with, they are also a part of making this happen.”
Shoppers on SNAP benefits also qualify for the Healthy Incentive Program, which can boost a food budget significantly with additional money specifically for farmers markets. Carter said it’s an easy way to make sure you’re getting the right nutrition, but its often overlooked.
‘The Healthy Incentive Program is still really under-utilized by folks, so if you know somebody who has a SNAP card, they automatically get this money to use on free produce,” Carter said. “So just make sure they know where we are, we can walk them through the process, and they too can benefit from fresh local food.”
If you missed the mobile market stop on Tuesday, the full schedule can be found on the REC website.