Spreading Healthy Eating
For folks throughout the Williamson area, the Williamson Farmers Market is a valuable resource offering access to fresh produce grown by local farmers. However, for many in Mingo County, it might feel a little too out of the way to make regular trips to the market. In 2014, the Mobile Farmers Market was created in a community meeting with the Mingo County Family Resource Network and other local partners. The Williamson Health and Wellness Center (WHWC) and the Mingo County Diabetes Coalition applied for funding from the WV Food and Farm Coalition to launch the market, and the grant paid for a pull trailer to transport produce throughout the area.
Since then, the market has grown from a monthly market to a weekly one, and sales from the market doubled between 2018 and 2019. As of 2020, the market will bring produce to Lenore and Matewan, WV on a weekly basis, and make monthly trips to Dingess, Delbarton, and Chapmanville, WV. The program is described by Maria Arnot, who was around at the beginning of the program, as increasing “food access to Mingo County residents as well as to the surrounding areas by providing fresh fruits and vegetables to rural communities.”
The mobile market is successful among many seniors in the area, who use special vouchers from local senior centers at the markets. Additionally, the SNAP stretch program helped to increase the sales in 2019. The SNAP stretch program is described by Amy Dearfield Hannah, the community resource network manager at WHWC as being a “dollar for dollar match grant for families who use their EBT cards at the Farmers Market. For example, if you spend $10, you get $10 free of additional produce.”
The Mobile Market benefits the farmers of the community,as well. The farmers are able to sell their products to WHWC at full price, and then it is resold at the mobile market, meaning that the growers continue to benefit from the program.
For those interested in grabbing some local produce, the Mobile Market will begin in June. To learn more, visit the Williamson Farmers Market Facebook Page.
All photos provided by Williamson Farmers Market