One of the Fresh Food Hub’s staff members, Mecca, showing off some brussel sprouts. (Courtesy of West Philadelphia Fresh Food Hub)
West Philadelphia Fresh Food Hub, a non-profit mobile market dedicated to improving nutritional education and access to affordable healthy, locally-grown food, will return to Powelton Village for its second season starting April 30.
At the Fresh Food Hub, West Philly residents will be able to purchase locally-grown and seasonal organic fruits and vegetables, as well as conventional produce, milk, local free range eggs, bread, healthy snacks, and fruit salad. Developed in collaboration between Preston’s Paradise and Greensgrow Farms, the market will operate between the hours of 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays at its regular 37th Street and Lancaster Avenue location and will travel to three local senior centers on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday mornings. It accepts cash, credit cards, EBT/SNAP, and FMNP senior coupons.
“Local and organic foods are crucial components to a sustainable food system,” said Julia Dougherty, food access coordinator for the AmeriCorps VISTA program at Drexel University, one of the Fresh Food Hub’s partners, “but it is most important for the Fresh Food Hub to increase overall fruit and vegetable consumption in its target neighborhoods to ensure that the customers’ basic nutritional needs are being met.”
The market will also serve as the pickup location for three CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) programs: Greensgrow CSA, which offers locally-grown vegetables, fruit, dairy, protein, and specialty items such as beer, honey, and pierogi; Neighborhood Foods CSA, which is focused on urban-grown produce, and offers local fruit, value-added products, honey, and flowers; and Greensgrow’s LIFE Box CSA, a low-cost option only available to customers receiving SNAP benefits.
“Traditionally, the large up-front deposits required by most CSAs prohibit low-income shoppers from enjoying the benefits of joining a CSA,” said Dougherty, whose role is to support the Fresh Food Hub through community outreach and partnership efforts. When enrolled in a CSA, clients pay dues at the start of the farming season in order to receive a weekly or bi-weekly box of local harvest. “But there are farms and organizations—such as Greensgrow and Greener Partners in Media/Collegeville—which are working to remove that financial barrier because they recognize the importance of incorporating educational components in food access work.”
According to Dougherty, profits from the Fresh Food Hub will go towards educational programming in the neighborhood, including cooking classes, nutrition education, and garden demonstrations at Drexel’s recently established Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships, located on 35th and Spring Garden Streets.
For more information, visit www.facebook.com/WPFoodHub.
Here is the complete 2013 Fresh Food Hub schedule as of this point:
Tuesdays – Fridays
2 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
37th and Lancaster (regular location)
Sunshine Senior Center
58th Street and Walnut Street
St. Ignatius Senior Homes
44th Street and Fairmount Avenue
West Philadelphia Senior Community Center
41st Street and Poplar Street
Available to travel to special events in the community
- Annamarya Scaccia