Neighborhood markets expand access to healthy food

The Sankofa World Market, co-founded by SCLT in 2015, is in Providence’s West End neighborhood.

In 2015 we began a community outreach program to inform urban residents of area farmers markets, and financial incentives to shop at them.

The program has included a postcard mailer with market locations, hours and offerings, a Spanish-language radio ad and banners promoting the markets. But our most effective initiatives have been door-to-door youth canvasing and community presentations.

During the summer, teams of youth staff go door-to-door to talk with residents about the times and locations of the Broad Street, Armory Park, Sankofa and Slater Park Farmers Markets. They also highlight the federal incentives (SNAP, WIC and senior vouchers) redeemable at the farmers markets, as well as the culturally relevant food sold there.

In addition to this door-to-door canvasing, SCLT staff and youth staff conduct community presentations at partner sites throughout Providence, sharing farmers market information, highlighting federal food incentives and leading a broader discussion on how residents would like their local food access to change. These presentations provide valuable insight for our work and are often paired with a cooking demonstration, to provide community members the resources and knowledge they need to make healthy, equitable food choices. Such community presentation sites have included: South Providence Library, Dorcas International Institute of RI, and Center for Southeast Asians, as well as local places of worship.

This program empowers residents of food desert neighborhoods who want to eat healthier food, and farmers who want to grow their businesses. By supporting Southside Community Land Trust you can help us to achieve our goals and improve Rhode Islanders’ diets and physical well-being.

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