Hamilton Wholesome Meals Connections are rising
The Hamilton Healthy Food Connections program, which provides financial support for fresh food at local farmers’ markets, returns in 2021.
“We see this as an extension of the neighbor sneaking up on your porch and leaving you some of what they’re growing,” said Ben Strader, director of the Blue Mountain Center. “It’s local food and local people sharing.”
In 2020, the Hamilton Healthy Food Connections program began with funding from the Adirondack Foundation’s Sudden and Urgent Needs Fund – a Covid-19 relief fund dedicated to meeting immediate pandemic-related needs here in the Adirondacks. Organized by the Blue Mountain Center’s Hamilton Helps Project and the Indian Lake Community Development Corporation (ILCDC), the program was designed to provide Hamilton Counties with access to fresh and healthy food at nearby farmers’ markets. It offered $ 20 “Farmer’s Market Certificates” that could be redeemed for fresh produce or meat at Hamilton County’s farmers’ markets.
While a government program exists with similar goals, the organizers of Healthy Food Connections wanted to help make it even easier to enjoy local food in a challenging year.
Thanks to a strong network of pantries, senior eateries, and community leaders, certificates were distributed across the county to those who could use them. “Our pantries and eateries do a great job and their connection to the community is one of many reasons they are such great partners and inspiration for this program,” said Sawyer Cresap, co-coordinator of Hamilton Helps.
By the end of the 2020 season, $ 1,200 had been redeemed in local groceries. “A store manager told us that thanks to these certificates, among other things, she saw several new faces in the market over the past year,” said Ryan Felder, co-coordinator at Hamilton Helps.
The Healthy Food Connections program is set to continue this summer thanks to ongoing support from the Adirondack Foundation, the ILCDC, and local donors – and with other long-term solutions in mind. “It is important to us to continue to seek growth opportunities beyond what is currently believed to be possible in Hamilton County. We hope this will be a long-term project and can envision many opportunities to build on the hard work on site, ”said Felder. Those interested in learning more, getting involved, and supporting this effort can visit HamiltonHelps.org.
“This program is all about working together for people in Hamilton County,” said Cresap. “The volunteers who run our farmers’ markets are our neighbors and friends, and they have built a great system for all of us to get more fresh food here in our cities.”
Hamilton County Farmers Markets 2021 include:
Long Lake Farmers Market: Thursdays, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Mt. Sabattis lower parking lot
Market season: June 24th – September 2nd, 2021
Indian Lake Community Farmers Market: Saturdays, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Indian Lake School Lawn
Market season: July 3 – September 25, 2021
Speculator farmer’s and craft market: Thursdays, 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m., city pavilion
Market season: June 24th – September 16th, 2021
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