Individuals ranging from farmers to state officials came together during two Farmers Markets Conferences on Monday, March 26 in West Windsor and Wednesday, April 4 at the Ironbound Early Learning Center in Newark. The goal was to provide information about the benefits and opportunities available for Jersey Farmers’ Markets.
More than 50 representatives from farmers markets, as well as local farms and vendors, attended the West Windsor Conference. And, another 100-people attended Newark’s Urban Farmer’s Market Conference held at Ironbound Community Corporation.
Ironbound Community Corporation Executive Director Joe Della Fave opened the conference stating, “We need more uplifting and less uprooting of people in our urban centers.”
The Conferences were designed to advance the opportunities and address the barriers involved in cultivating a thriving farmers market. Conference segments included: a panel of local farmers, as well as discussion topics related to USDA/NJ SNAP/WIC eligibility, and tips and strategies to help create and sustain markets in underserved communities.
During a healthy lunch break, participating organizations had the opportunity to sign up for USDA SNAP/WIC programs, and engage in a Q&A with federal agency representatives.
“Having rural farmers come into urban centers helps bring food access into these communities and benefits farmers by creating a revenue stream, ensuring economic stability,” stated Chris Cirkus – West Windsor Community Farmers Market Manager.
New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids – State Program Manager Marissa Davis also highlighted her experience managing the Greenwood Ave. Farmers Market in Trenton and shared the keys to success in starting a farmer’s market in underserved communities.
Five local New Jersey Farmers participated in a panel discussion sharing their involvement and best practices related to New Jersey Farmers’ Markets. “Connecting with the state, county and local officials is important, but it is equally important to obtain the support and direct engagement from the people in the community,” said Brad Daniels, a Beekeeper and Farmer from Jersey Buzz.
The Farmers’ Market Conferences were sponsored by AG in the City, Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, the YMCA, New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids and West Windsor Community Farmers’ Market.