Starting this month, local farmers resumed their weekly drop-offs of fresh produce at 404 Broad Street’s Farm-to-Market Center, where SCLT aggregation staff sort and store it briefly before it is delivered to clients throughout Greater Providence. Last year 23 farmers sold their produce through this program to six hunger relief agencies, as well as to our own VeggieRx produce prescription program. This much-needed nutritious food reached 1200 people and netted farmers close to $100,000.
So far this year, 27 farmers will be contributing tons of fresh produce – literally – that will find its way onto peoples’ plates. New partners include RI Hospital, New Urban Arts, and Haus of Codec.
In addition to expanding the program to include more farmers and program partners, the Aggregation team itself has grown. Program Coordinator Kakeena Castro, who joined last year, brings extensive personal and professional experience in the food industry, including a degree from New York’s Institute of Culinary Education. Last month, she hired Amelia Lopez, who served as a member of the 2016 Youth Program and just completed a degree in supply chain management and logistics from URI. (In addition, Amelia’s parents are farmers in SCLT’s network, growing mainly at Urban Edge Farm!)
Another graduate of SCLT ‘s Youth Program, Appoline Alphonsine, brings food system experience to her part-time role as the third member of the Aggregation crew. Notably, Appoline also serves as a youth representative to the SCLT Board of Directors.
Together, this crew is well-positioned to see a record-setting year for the Faram-to-Market Center, benefitting more farmers and bringing more fresh produce to Rhode Islanders in need of affordable, healthy food.
Meet the Aggregation team: from left, Program Associate Amelia Lopez, Program Coordinator Kakeena Castro, and Food System Intern Appoline Alphonsine (also the Youth Rep to SCLT’s Board).