JAMESTOWN – The Jamestown Public Market is touting successes of their weekly downtown farmers’ market.
Market Director Linnea Carlson says the program, sponsored by St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, served over 1,000 this year. The program, Carlson says, is aimed at ‘building Jamestown’s food system’.
These include the weekly Saturday farmers’ market, located along Third Street in Downtown Jamestown; the Jamestown Mobile Market, a ‘farmers’ market on wheels’ that provides fresh food access to community areas most in need; the GROW Jamestown community gardens and GROW Garden Fair; and several community education and advocacy events and programs.
“All of our programs saw growth. Our sales at the Saturday market increased by over 25% and number of vendors doubled. At the mobile market, we were visited by 415 individual customers, who purchased an average of 5 servings of fruits and veggies per week,” said Carlson. “We offered activities, thanks to the support of Novel Destination and Carrie Wolfgang, to over 200 children with our SPROUTs program; and we expanded our partnerships with groups like the Small Business Development Center and Jamestown Pride to create community programs with impact.”
A collaboration with The Chautauqua Center, a mobile market site location, continued a ‘Veggie Rx’ program, connecting healthcare providers with their patients by offering ‘prescriptions’ for vouchers that could then be redeemed for fresh fruits or vegetables. Sixty-three patients were referred through the program in 2021.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of WNY also offered it’s support to the market, providing funding to expand the Mobile Market to two days per week.
The Mobile Market visited five locations in total, including James Prendergast Library, C.V. Bush Elementary, and Silver Tree Seniors of Jamestown. BCBS sponsored a new weekly visit to Tower Park located at the corner of Tower Streets and Willard. This neighborhood commonly known as Willard Hill (or Swede Hill) has a high poverty rate and a significant number of families receiving SNAP benefits.
Through the funding provided by BCBS, the mobile market could visit this neighborhood, as well as expand its outreach efforts. The mobile market accepted SNAP and WIC/Farmers Market Senior benefits for the first time this season, continuing to increase healthy food access options for the community.
“We truly cannot thank the people of Jamestown enough. Everyone we meet in this community shows love and support for the market in one way or another,” said Carlson. “The city so graciously has worked with us to ensure we can visit public spaces, like Tower Park. Our move to Third Street has allowed us to both lend and get support from local businesses, while increasing accessibility for all market goers. We are thrilled with the success experienced this year, and know the farmers and vendors are full of gratitude as well.”