USDA Visits New Bedford for National Farmers Market Week 2016!

FM weekThe week of August 7th was National Farmers Market Week, and we were honored to have USDA officials visit our Brooklawn Park market on Monday, and we rolled out our new Rx Market Program at our Thursday Custom House Square market!

National Farmers Market Week shines a light on the importance of supporting local farmers by buying fresh, locally grown produce, which has a number of benefits, including stimulating the local economy, encouraging sustainable farming practices, increasing access among low-income community members, preserving farmland, and supporting health!

Sam Rikkers, USDA Rural Development Rural Business Service Administrator and Scott Soares, USDA Rural Development State Director toured the market and met with our farmers and vendors to recognize the great benefits farmers markets bring to local communities. We were honored to have them attend the market and appreciate the USDA’s continued support and investment in local food!

Later that week we unveiled our new Rx Program in partnership with NB Parks Recreation & Beaches, the Greater New Bedford Community Health Center, Southcoast, and Hawthorne Medical. Through this program, participating doctors can now prescribe a daily dose of exercise and fruits and vegetables directly to their patients, along with a list of free/low-cost programs, as well as the locations and times of the New Bedford Farmers Markets.

The key to this program is doctors will not only tell patients to eat healthy and exercise, but will provide them with a list of local places that offer free or low-cost programming because many residents often aren’t aware of all the great programs offered by the parks, or that the New Bedford Farmers Market accepts SNAP benefits and credit cards along with cash, and features a variety of vendors who sell meats, fish, jams, baked goods, and other healthy foods in addition to fruits and vegetables.

Watch a video of the press conference below: