Access to fresh produce, and training on how to prepare it were identified as key needs in our initial community assessments. South Bound Brook is small, with no grocery stores, other than convenience stores, on the town’s main street. Bound Brook has several grocery stores as well as bodegas and convenience stores, but transportation is an issue for many residents.
Healthier Somerset developed a model in other Somerset County towns to teach nutrition workshops to specific target audiences, then distribute vouchers to workshop participants for redemption at the local farmers’ market. NJ SNAP-Ed, who presented the workshops, and RWJUH Somerset, who funded the voucher program, agreed to repeat the program in Bound Brook and South Bound Brook. However, there were no guarantees that either town would offer a farmers’ market this year.
The Bound Brook Revitalization Partnership’s downtown manager secured a farmer willing to manage the market, but South Bound Brook wasn’t as successful. Rather than delay the market, South Bound Brook Councilwoman Beth Konkle took on the challenge and succeeded in creating a new model for farmers’ markets. She found a farmer willing to supply the produce, and each week she drives to his farm and picks up the weekly supply. The South Bound Brook Borough Council invites local nonprofits to work the stand each week, and these organizations may keep any profit made above the cost of the produce. Leftover produce is donated to local food banks.
NJ SNAP-Ed presented “Just Say Yes to Fruits and Vegetables” in English and Spanish at both farmers markets. Thirty participants attended the Bound Brook workshop and 23 attended in South Bound Brook. Each participant received a voucher for use at the local farmers’ market.
The markets in both towns are feeding, educating, and connecting local residents – great steps forward in building a culture of health in these communities! Connect with us to learn more and partner in this work.