Brainerd Farmers Market At Grace Episcopal Plans New Project

Saturday, February 01, 2014

The Brainerd Farmers' Market announced a new project: "Get Here -- Get Fresh" -- for 2014.  In operation since 2010, the Brainerd Farmer’s Market is open each Saturday from April through December from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm. The Market is located in the parking lot of Grace Episcopal Church on the corner of Belvoir Avenue at Brainerd Road in Chattanooga. The market is a venue for fresh sustainably grown local produce. Feature Farms include Circle S Farm, Everett Heritage Farm, Greenwell Farm, Out Back Farm, Pocket Farm and Walden Farm.

In addition to fresh produce, the market is also home to artisan foods and crafts from Dixie Soaps, Sylvana Bonita, Lookout Mountain Local Honey, Wunderbar and Barley Bones.

The Brainerd Farmers' Market "Get Here -- Get Fresh" project, funded through a grant from the Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga, is designed to increase awareness of and access to locally grown fresh produce to low-income families in the Brainerd Community. The mission of the Brainerd Farmers’ Market is to make local organic and sustainably grown produce available to the Chattanooga Brainerd community and to encourage healthy local food choices for Brainerd residents through educational and financial assistance projects for low-income market patrons.

In 2013, the Brainerd Farmers' Market was the only local farmers' market in Chattanooga and Hamilton County to accept Food Stamps. The 17.4% of families living in poverty in Hamilton County primarily get food for their families through U. S. Government Food Assistance projects -- Food Stamps (EBT, SNAP, WIC). In 2013, 16% of our fresh produce sales were to Food Stamp customers.

The Brainerd Farmers’ Market “Get Fresh” project will (1) present outreach notices in advertising slots on CARTA’s Brainerd bus route; (2) print notice cards and calendars indicating market hours and Food Stamp services; and (3) improve signage at the market location. The project has currently secured funding for the 2014 fiscal year from the Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga, Grace Episcopal Church, in-kind contributions of outreach and marketing services through the market community, and will be hosting a Farmers’ Market Benefit Dinner in July 2014 to secure funding for the continuation of the project in 2015.

The goals of the 2014 "Get Here - Get Fresh" Project are (1) to increase the total amount of fresh produce Food Stamp clients purchase for their households at the market; (2) to increase the number of Food Stamp shoppers at the Brainerd Farmers’ Market during non-incentive periods; and (3) to increase the awareness of the market's offerings and services to CARTA bus riders and the Brainerd community.

By raising the visibility and familiarity of the Farmer's Market among Brainerd residents, the "Get Fresh" program has the potential to attract new patrons and new customers that utilize food assistance benefits at the Farmers' Market for their regular food shopping. Familiarizing the general public with this purchase option also has the potential to reduce the social stigma of food assistance programs.

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