Spring is here and with it the reopening of the Columbia Heights Farmers Market. On Saturday, April 21st, the Columbia Heights Civic Plaza was once again filled with fruit and vegetables, bread, pickles, organic meats, and a variety of small businesses selling their goods. Our Farmers Market has become a centerpiece in our community every Wednesday and Saturday from April through December, providing residents with access to locally sourced foods and the chance to better engage and get to know one another!
Community Foodworks (CFW) has been operating the Market since 2010 and has since expanded beyond Saturdays to include Wednesday evenings. A DC based non-profit, CFW is dedicated to creating market opportunities for local farmers and, more importantly, increasing access to fresh, healthy food in underserved communities. To do this, they operate a variety of innovative food access programs designed to improve the health and well-being of residents.
One of the many programs available includes Bonus Bucks, a cornerstone of CFW’s food access and financial support program. A dollar-for-dollar match for SNAP (food stamps), WIC (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance for Women, Infants and Children), and Senior FMNP (Farmers Market Nutrition Program). Bonus Bucks help increase the purchasing power for shoppers who utilize Federal food benefits. This summer, CFW will continue to serve as an OSSE-sponsored Free Summer Meal Site, where all children and adolescents can receive a free snack or supper at the Wednesday AND Saturday Markets.
CFW’s Market Share program is another great benefit to many in our community, and it is one of two CSAs in the whole city that offers discounted memberships for residents. Customers who use SNAP are able to purchase Market Share bags at a 75% discount and in 2016, the program expanded to include WIC customers, who are also able to purchase these reduced-price bags at the markets and at two WIC clinics across Ward 1. In 2017, Community Foodworks was able to provide $31,986 in discounts for the Market Share to those using SNAP and WIC. It is also the only CSA to offer delivery for seniors and last year weekly food deliveries were made to neighborhood seniors at Sam Kelsey, Victory Heights, and NCBA Estates. This year they will be expanding this partnership to serve DCHA properties, including Garfield Terrace, Judiciary House, and Kentucky Courts.
These Market Shares are available to anyone who wants a regular supply of the freshest local produce and other foods from area farms. You can still sign up for the program and delivery will begin on May 16th.
If you would like to help support their subsidized program, please choose “SOCIAL IMPACT SHARE” when you check out. This will add a $3 donation to your weekly Market Share bag that will go towards helping ensure that everyone who wants fresh, local produce can have the access we ALL deserve.
Other ways you can support this great community resource: VOLUNTEER! Help is always needed, especially on Wednesdays 1-4pm and 4-7pm.
More information on all the great work being done can be found on their website: www.community-foodworks.org