Last month, the UGA Alumni Association Board of Directors met for its quarterly meeting and had a chance to hear from Lynwood Blackmon, DeKalb County Extension Coordinator, with the DeKalb Mobile Farmer’s Market. This mobile food market is run through UGA Extension, which helps local communities as part of the university’s mission as a land-grant institution.
In addition to increasing access to fresh fruits and vegetables at an affordable price, the Mobile Farmer’s Market also educates its customers about healthy eating habits.
So, how did this program get started?
Officials in DeKalb approached DeKalb Cooperative Extension to discuss the possibility of launching a Mobile Farmer’s Market modeled after the Fulton County Mobile Market (Fulton Fresh). However, the initiative went well beyond the expected result and the market has become an amazing addition to the already established cooperative extension foundation. DeKalb County was able to provide a retired prison bus, which was retrofitted to accommodate this project.
This program is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) initiative to promote healthy eating and physical activity and help improve health and reduce health disparities for residents in DeKalb County
What is the program’s mission?
The mission of the DeKalb Mobile Farmers Market is to provide access to healthy, affordable food. The market makes stops throughout the county bringing fresh regionally grown fruits and and vegetables to low income communities. The Mobile Market accepts EBT (SNAP benefits), credit cards, checks, and cash. The DeKalb Mobile Farmers Market is a program of DeKalb County Extension
The DeK goes to communities without access to grocery stores within a one (1) mile radius and provides an opportunity to learn healthy eating habits and purchase items.
How successful has the program been?
- More than 10,000 pounds of produce sold
- Served 8 communities and 2 employee-based locations
- Served 3,210 non-unique participants
- More than 19,000 pounds of produce sold
- Served 10 communities
- Served 5,367 non-unique participants
How can people help out?
“Get on the DeK” – This will allow community members to make one-time or continuous donations to the DeK. The funds will be used strictly for the programming provided by the DeK in DeKalb County.
Volunteer Opportunities – This would involve assistance during large-scale events in May and September of each year and will launch in 2017. Volunteers will go through a simple screening process and half day of training.
Community Partners – Another 2017 initiative is get people involved by having them bring DeK information to their communities and encourage visits to the market.