Every Thursday afternoon, in an underserved area in the Ironbound Section of Newark, something extraordinary is happening. The streets are filled with mothers and grandmothers, veterans and senior adults – all bringing bags of beautiful fresh produce home to their families. Launched last April, the Newark Fresh Produce Market has had a huge impact on the health and well-being of many of the city’s residents. On some days, the aroma of a particularly sweet piece of fruit floats throughout the neighborhood as people simply cannot wait to get home to enjoy their treats.
With initial funding from the Healthcare Foundation of NJ, exceptional fresh produce from HelloFresh, and the community partnership of The Cortland Street Ironbound Community Corporation Family Success Center, between 300 and 400 families each week are provided the access and subsequent benefits of a diet rich with fresh fruits and vegetables. Plus, along with it, the joy and dignity of knowing that they are sharing them with their loved ones.
Because for so many the produce being received is unfamiliar or has been forgotten over the years of absence from their meals, the Success Center provides cooking suggestions and tips as the “shoppers” wait to receive this exquisite bounty. And nothing is better than hearing about the carrots that were turned into carrot muffins, or heads of Boston lettuce transformed to a healthier tortilla substitute.
An added benefit to the weekly market is the sense of community that has developed among the recipients. Along with shared cooking ideas, random acts of kindness occur weekly such as residents carry a bag of produce home for a sick neighbor who couldn’t make it to the market that day.
The success of the market has been overwhelming and while previously designed to run through only the middle of December, alternatives to the outdoor location are being explored. Clearly something wonderful is happening on the streets of Newark and everyone can be a part of it. There are many ways to get involved in this transformative program. For information contact Julie – email@example.com
With generous support in Newark from The Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey.