Northeast Bronx Community Farmers Market Project
I’m so honored to be recognized here amongst these accomplished women whose efforts help our communities become stronger and better every day. Retiring in 2010 from a career mostly in finance left me available to follow my passions of volunteering, food justice, entrepreneurship and promoting grass roots alliances. The Northeast Bronx Community Farmers Market Project (quite a mouthful, pun intended!) has been the perfect vehicle for all of this and our mission has been met over and over. My friend, Chrys Napolitano, a prior recipient, asked what I thought about starting a farmers market and, without a blink, I said “I’m in!” Lourdes Gamez, also a prior recipient, joining as our third, created the perfect team. My experience as a past director of a nonprofit childcare training program overseeing a Healthy Options nutrition component in early childcare helped seal the deal.
As a co-founder of our area’s first Farmers Market, I’m proud of the way we filled a need in our small but socio-economically diverse corner of the Bronx. We’ve introduced awareness of food insecurity, seasonal eating from NYS farms, healthy eating options and sampling new tastes from our guest chefs. Our vendors are predominantly women with small batch products from their home-based businesses, and we have strict guidelines that the products being sold are made with natural ingredients without chemicals/fillers. Some of our workshops include gardening, cooking, after-school programs and a CSA. My pet project, our Community Corner, has brought non-profit organization awareness, government agencies’ services, as well as free compost, flu-shots, Emergency TO GO bags, school supplies and a NY Public Library card sign-up. Local yoga and exercise teachers offer free classes at our ‘Move It, Move It At the Market’ and local musicians have found a new audience. In addition to being all about healthy food, we provide community and fellowship: We bring people together with common goals and collaborate with other beneficial groups such as Community Board 10, the 45th Police Precinct and the Throggs Neck Merchants Association. During this pandemic we are blessed to partner with Fort Schuyler Presbyterian Church and the Throggs Neck Community Alliance in a food outreach program currently twice weekly. We are also looking to open a second market when it is safe to do so. It is my hope that the market continues to grow and encourages us all to Be Our Best Selves!