Myrtle Avenue Farm Stand
The Myrtle Avenue Farm Stand, established in summer 2010, has had four consecutive seasons of providing fresh, local, affordable produce to community residents from 6 regional producers. In seasons 2010-2012 the farm stand was managed by a market manager, three local youth, supervised by two elder adults, with MARP staff support. In 2013 we welcomed Nolasco Farm to the Avenue to sell directly to residents with support from a market manager, outreach coordinator and MARP staff. The farm stand established itself as a vibrant community destination, with cooking demos, market tours, EBT/Health Buck workshops and other activities for all ages.
In 2006, the demolition of a 15,000-square-foot Associated Supermarket across from 3 public housing developments in the northwest corner of our community drastically decreased competition among nearby supermarkets, creating a food insecure environment. The Farm Stand opened in 2010 adjacent to this site as one piece of a multi-pronged solution to immediately address food access in our community. For two years the stand operated at this site selling food from 2 producers the first year, and 3 in the second. In it’s third season, a supermarket opened in the NW corner and the Farm Stand moved up the avenue a few blocks to a corner with higher foot traffic. In 2012, the farm stand offered products from 6 regional producers, increased customer count to an average of 15 more per market and food stamp sales soared! In 2013 we welcomed Nolasco Farm to sell directly to the community, creating an affordable “farmer’s market” for the residents of Northwest Fort Greene. The hours of operation changed from late afternoon to morning and was open for 7 hours verses 4 from past seasons. Our customers have been loyal, many familiar faces returning week after week.
The food environment in Fort Greene has changed considerably since we opened the Farm Stand back in 2010. Two grocery stores have opened where the 2006 demolition took place, another two have opened on Myrtle Avenue and three farmer’s markets have opened within a 3 mile radius of our location. What we find now is not an issue of access to fresh, healthy foods but one of affordability. Therefore, we will sunset the Farm Stand and concentrate our efforts on providing information and education on how to shop healthy on a budget. The Fort Greene / Clinton Hill Community Food Council will guide customers through shopping tours at the Red Apple grocery store, teaching customers how to read nutrition and unit pricing labels, and the benefits of whole foods versus processed. Tours take place every first Sunday of each month, 3-5PM, @ Red Apple (Myrtle/Navy). In addition, we will work with corner stores to implement strategies that will improve the marketing of healthy items and encourage them to stock more fresh foods.
We thank all of our loyal customers, farmers and the greater community for your support!
All four seasons combined the Farm Stand brought in nearly 20,000 lbs of fresh produce and over 300 lbs of value added products.
EBT/WIC/Health Buck Sales:
- In 2011, the Farm Stand had a 52% increase of Health Buck redemption rate from 2010. The Farm Stand has had one of the highest Health Buck redemption rates two year in a row.
- Food stamp sales in 2012 soared – mid-season sales were almost 3 times as much as mid-season 2011 sales!
- EBT sales in 2013 went up 45% from 2012.
- Farm Stand Outreach Coordinator has worked with staff from 10 local community based organizations, hospitals, Food Stamp centers, NYCHA Resident Associations, senior centers and daycares to develop outreach strategies for their clients to obtain and spend the NYC Department of Health ‘Health Bucks’ at the Farm Stand and beyond.
- Outreach: 40,000 postcards, 550 posters and 20,000 mailings, including direct mail to 5,000 NYCHA households.
- Food Stamp resource packets were created and distributed to local community based organizations, hospitals, Food Stamp centers, senior centers, NYCHA Resident Associations and daycares.
The Farm Stand Supports:
- 6 regional producers
- 6 seasonal jobs for local residents
- Residents of the Fort Greene community
Participating Farmers and Producers: