Friday, January 27, 2012

SFC to Open Fourth Year-Round Farmers' Market


Sustainable Food Center (SFC), a local non-profit with a mission of strengthening the local food system and improving access, will open a fourth year-round market on March 20th to complement its other three Austin area markets. The new location, SFC Farmers’ Market East, will operate weekly from 10 am to 1 pm on Tuesdays at the YMCA East, 5315 Ed Bluestein (Hwy. 183 at 51st Street).
“This farmers’ market will help fill the long-identified gap in northeast Austin where access to fresh, local food is limited,” said SFC executive director Ronda Rutledge. “This particular market will include incentives of matching dollars to be given to shoppers who use their SNAP and WIC fruits and vegetable benefits for purchases weekly. Our long term goal is to provide these matching dollars at our other three markets as well.”

Along with operating the Double Dollar Incentive Program (DDIP) at the market, the East market will also host a tasting tent that alternates weekly with short cooking demos featuring recipes from The Happy Kitchen/La Cocina Alegre™. The market is also located where green space, trees, a playing field and playground are readily accessible. "We're grateful for our programmatic partnership with the YMCA and look forward to the cross-programming possibilities at this new farmers' market site," said Ronda.

There will be at least 10 vegetable and fruit farmers at this market, along with several ranchers and farmers who will bring meats, eggs, honey and dairy. In addition, the SFC Farmers’ Market East will consist of farmers’ market food vendors that sell breakfast foods such as tamales, tacos, and more. "Alone we can do so little and together we can do so much," said James Finck, President and CEO of the YMCA of Austin, "which is why we are thankful for strong community collaborations like the one with SFC. Partnerships such as this help us continue the important work of youth development, encouraging healthy living and fostering a culture of social responsibility."

The March 20th kickoff will include grand opening ceremonies and special music, cooking and tasting, children’s activities, YMCA activities, door prize sand giveaways.The DDIP program at this market is made possible through funding from St. David's Foundation, Texas Department of Agriculture, USDA, Farm Aid and Wholesome Wave.

SF Calso operates the year-round SFC Farmers’ Market Downtown at Republic Square Park (founded 2003), SFC Farmers’Market at The Triangle (2007), and SFC Farmers’ Market at Sunset Valley(2010). The markets Downtown and at Sunset Valley operate Saturdays, 9 am to 1 pm (changing to 8:30 am to 12:30 pm May-August for summer hours), and The Triangle market operates 3-7 pm Wednesdays (changing to 4-8 pm for Mar-Sept for summer hours).

Sustainable Food Center envisions a food secure community where all children and adults grow, share and prepare healthy, local food. For more information about the markets, see www.sfcfarmersmarket.org. Also see www.sustainablefoodcenter.org.
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