Farmers have been digging in the dirt to grow produce for centuries and history tells us that it was their success in sustaining human populations that led our ancestors to abandon their nomadic ways for a more communal lifestyle, giving birth to villages, towns and later cities like Kent.
A lot has changed through the centuries but local farmers are still digging in the dirt and sustaining us, contributing to a more modern community lifestyle — they’ve just been re-branded to become hip Farmer’s Markets.
These days it seems that nothing shows your community green colors better than all the greens you can buy at the Farmer’s Market. Farmer’s Markets are in and overalls are trendy, so communities are racing to have a Farmer’s Market to showcase their commitment to sustainability. Oh yeah, and to sell some home grown food as well.
Whatever the motivation behind the recent proliferation of shiny new Farmer’s Markets, I’m really proud of Kent’s Haymaker Farmer’s Market that remains true to its grass roots. The Haymaker Market was serving the Kent community long before Farmer’s Markets were cool and that grass roots vibe continues to be a central theme to what they do today.
When it seems like so many of the newer Markets are using their popularity to charge more and cater to a higher end crowd, Kent’s Haymaker Market is actually stepping back and making sure that no family gets left behind in the local foods movement.
And thanks to a new $38,000 grant award announced last week, the Haymaker Market is reaching out to the other end of the socio-economic demographic that doesn’t look like they’re straight out of a trendy outdoor magazine arriving at the Market with their black lab and a supersized sport utility vehicle.
The Haymaker Market is taking the rather unhip step of offering low income families a way to purchase healthy, fresh produce using government assistance cash.
In partnership with the Haymaker Farmer’s Market, the City of Kent received a grant award of $38,855 for its “Expanding Use of Existing EBT in Kent Food Desert” proposal. EBT translates into electronic benefits transfer, which is a politically correct way of saying it’s a debit card that draws from government funded programs for low income families. It’s a bit like a digital version of food stamps.
Thanks to the grant funds, the Haymaker Farmer’s Market will be able to expand low income food options to include items available for purchase at the Farmer’s Market using an EBT card. The grant will enable the market to promote and expand the use of the EBT card so that low income families can buy healthier foods that were grown locally.
Operating on a belief that healthy foods shouldn’t be limited to high income families, the Haymaker Market is making sure that their Market keeps its strong sense of social conscience. Maybe that’s not cool yet, but its definitely the right thing to do — and that’s what the Haymaker Farmer’s Market does best.