The Greenwood Ave. Farmers Market (GAFM) is a vibrant urban market celebrating its fifth year of operation in Trenton. The market is a product of policy and environmental work done by the New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids-Trenton (NJPHK-T), which was funded by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The Capital Area YMCA has been the operational arm of the market throughout its five years of existence, supported by the New Jersey YMCA State Alliance.
In 2014 Marissa Davis, Project Director of NJPHK-T and Beth Feehan, employed by the Farm-to-Home initiative for the NJ Department of Agriculture, were standing in their office on Greenwood Avenue dreaming about transforming an unused lot next door into a beautiful fresh fruit and vegetable market.
That dream became a reality the following summer. Each Monday community farmers, Isles and Norz Farm in Hillsborough, bring locally-grown produce and other healthy food products to Trenton residents. The market creates economic development opportunities for local Trenton businesses and urban growers, while providing access for families in an economically distressed urban community.
Now, after five years on the block, GAFM has become a community within a community for its Trenton neighbors. Each season, over 5,000 visitors buy produce, purchase a nutritious snack or lunch, learn about health issues—from the dangers of vaping to the benefits of health screenings—play games, listen to music, dance, and meet and chat with other residents.
“GAFM has become the center of this community,” said Market Manager, T.K. Oluwafemi. “The market is an intergenerational, safe environment—and the first and only outdoor market in the State of NJ to provide the USDA’s summer meal program. GAFM was also one of the leaders to accept SNAP and WIC benefits on top of developing its own unique subsidized incentive program.” Oluwafemi’s presence is a measure of the market’s success. GAFM has grown to the point where it needs a full-time manager.
The success of GAFM has attracted the financial support of several other funders—such as The United Way, Novo Nordisk, AT&T and the NJ Health Institute—whose mission is to create better health opportunities for communities like Trenton. Five years is the first milestone, but for this community it is only the beginning.SHARE: