CLEVELAND — For Brennan Kaufman getting healthy foods without leaving his neighborhood is no problem.
But he knows that's not the same for others.
"Me being able to come here which is 8 miles, 10 miles from my home. I can actually have an opportunity to give these folks the same options I have. You know, I have accessibility to whatever I need and (for) these folks it's a little bit more challenging," Kaufman said.
For a year and a half, Kaufman has been working with Food Strong to help bring healthy food options to the Coit Road Farmers Market in East Cleveland.
"This is kind of a great way for us to actually reach out to the community here in East Cleveland because farmers markets, you know, we're helping to get the food and get people in the area access to the food and actually have an opportunity to come and get it."
Food Strong is a nonprofit in Cleveland with a mission to fight food disparities in the area.
For nearly a year, the organization and a group of volunteers have been working to clean up the farmers market.
"We are cleaning out one of the major storage units so that, you know, we can get that refreshed and have more space for other things. We're picking up a bunch of trash. We're organizing. We're cleaning out the bathroom. And we're just getting a lot renovated," said Sara Continenza, executive director of Food Strong.
Food Strong uses the farmers market as their home base and their goal is to integrate into the community.
They already have a community garden and learning gardens to help bring fresh food to the area.
"East Cleveland has a population of about 17,000 people and there is not one fully functioning grocery store in this town. Coit Road Farmers Market offers access to fresh local foods and also it's a little oasis in a vast food desert. We're hoping that by building up this part of town, by building up this amazing hub, that we can foster access to fresh foods in this community, get more foods excited about using foods, buying foods, and cooking foods that are healthy. And now we are also supporting local businesses in the process," Continenza said.
Kaufman and Continenza said they hope to improve the quality of life for people in the area with the continued efforts of Food Strong's commitment to cleaning up the community.
"This is so important because if you don't feed the community good food, if you don't give them the ability and opportunity to eat wholesome food and get that good energy that they need, then it's going to be even more difficult for people to prosper in this area," Kaufman said.
Food Strong has monthly cleanup projects at Coit Road Farmers Market.