Local farmers markets offer afordable health foods
There are multiple farmers markets throughout New Mexico that accept government food assistance, such as food stamps, said Catherine Gordon, market manager of Nob Hill Growers Market.
The value of helping all people obtain affordable, minimally processed food is priceless, said Gordon.
“It’s about getting real food to all people. This is one avenue for doing that,” said Gordon.
Market managers and local farmers are working to create a farmers market for every neighborhood in the state to provide the opportunity for families to have affordable healthy foods, she said.
“There is no question of the cultural impact on the community, and the health of it,” said Gordon.
At each market, an information table is available where people can swipe food stamp cards in exchange for one dollar tokens to be spent at any fresh foods booth.
“The local economy is supported because all of the food stamps are spent locally, and then the farmers who made the money are going to spend it locally also,” said Gordon.
More than two dozen markets currently participate in the program and the tokens can be used just like cash at the markets, but no change can be given. The tokens can be spent any time at the market where they were purchased, even if they were purchased weeks earlier.
Most of the markets are open seasonally, from early or late summer through late fall. Five of the markets are now open year round. Market goers have the rare opportunity to ask growers about their growing methods, food storage or favorite recipe, according to the website.
“We try to have one of everything and provide what people need to support the proper health of their families,” said Gordon.
Along with produce stands, the markets also allow craftsmen, jewelers and other artists to sell their work, she said.
At Nob Hill Growers Market, guests are invited to educational booths involved in community interest projects to inform the public on the local food movement.
Special events like kid’s day are planned for the summer and local musicians can perform for the duration of each event.
“They are welcome to reserve playing time if they do not mind being unpaid and unamplified, although they are welcome to ‘pass the hat’ for change,” said Gordon.
The markets are also an opportunity for people to get involved and volunteer for their community, said Gordon.
“Many of the volunteers just wanted get involved and some have never been active in their communities before this,” said Gordon.
The markets allow the community to make productive use of land and water, preserve agricultural land and knowledge for future generations, and have the security of a local food source.
“I consider myself a part of the local food movement. Local food issues are important. My motive is to get food to all people,” said Gordon.
A vast network has developed of groups and individuals who are actively making an effort to increase public awareness about the importance of having local sustainable means of obtaining food.
“We’re almost unstoppable. I want every neighborhood to have a market to walk to,” said Gordon.
For more information or to volunteer for the Nob Hill Growers Market contact Catherine Gordon at firstname.lastname@example.org or 934-8960.