Yay! Paths aligned for me to be in Wilmington (sharing time with friends) at the same time Feast Down East was hosting a market! I was so excited to share some time with the market coordinator and volunteer at the Friday Fresh Market at Rankin Terrace.
Connecting with Feast Down East is in line with the love me some Wilmy project.
Volunteering at the Friday Fresh Market was an opportunity to see up close how this organization is impacting the local community and confirm my decision to donate proceeds from the sticker and magnet sales.
A little background, in case you aren’t aware.
Feast Down East originated in 2006 as a UNCW-affiliated economic development project, the Southeastern North Carolina Food Systems Program. It was then established in 2010 as a nonprofit organization. Their programs help to support farm businesses, distribute local produce and increase access for all consumers. They also educate the public on the importance of buying local foods*.
After Florence, when I was looking for a local organization to align with and support, I found them. Supporting local farmers and helping make sure community members in need had good, healthy (local) food. It was totally something I wanted to get behind.
During my email exchange with the Feast Down East team to coordinate my meet up with them at the corner of 11th & Rankin by the James Walker building, I asked if there was anything they wanted to share with me (so that I could amplify here), and I received this update:
“…in regards to market outreach for both this market and the upcoming mobile farmers market operation, we are targeting populations in public housing neighborhoods and the surrounding communities, those that experience food insecurity, especially in accessing healthy foods. We are currently the only farmers market accepting SNAP/EBT food stamps in the county, and also offer a matching program to encourage purchases with SNAP and to accompany our below cost prices.”
It was a wet and rainy, and that may have impacted the number of people who came out to the market that day, but it didn’t dampen my excitement, shared conversations with the Feast Down East team or sweet exchanges with market customers.
There was a lot of good juju – and I was happy to be a small part of it.
And can we talk about the produce?!
The market coordinator and I talked about the community and how Feast Down East was making inroads to help address food insecurity. We talked about the future of the markets and the plans to address the transit van upgrades.
The market is weekly, year round and sets up at local community centers, public housing neighborhoods and local businesses. The best way to keep up with their schedule including pop-ups is to follow their Facebook and Instagram posts.
And you know me – there was no way I was leaving that market empty handed.
THREE CHEERS TO ALL THE LOCAL AREA FARMERS!
And what was even better, was that I was staying with friends over the weekend – so I was able to share all the local yummy-goodness right away!
Really excited about how Feast Down East is going to grow!
If you’re local to the Wilmington area, get involved!