SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – State and city officials, farmers, and the Forest Park manager gathered at the Forest Park Farmers Market to celebrate the newly-declared Massachusetts Farmers Market Week.
Tuesday was not only the celebration of farmers market week but also the 25th anniversary of the Forest Park Farmers Market.
“I love the farmers market. I’m doing eight markets around and every single one of them is amazing,” said Hunter Linscott from Livingstone Mycology. Linscott with says Markets like this allow people to buy fresh and healthy food directly from local farmers.
“Accessibility to food is a huge issue so trying to bring these things directly from farms right to the consumers, being able to explain everything what we are about. I don’t expect people to know about limesmade extract, so it’s nice to talk to people about what they are actually getting,” said Linscott.
With all the rain we have been getting this summer, Ryan Voiland from Red Fire Farm in Granby told 22News it caused damage to some crops but not all, “It’s been reasonably challenging but like I say, we feel lucky compared to some farms because even though we lost a little here and there, we had some bags of carrots and beets that we just seeded that got washed out and they were just little plants, but they got washed away… we were able to reseed.”
He says there are several other farmers who were hit hard by the recent storms and lost a lot more crops.
Massachusetts State Senator Jake Oliveira says the state passed supplemental budget of $20 million to help local farmers. This new budget will help farmers in western Massachusetts with mitigation and to recover from the damage caused by the heavy rain this summer. He says farmers will be able to continue to provide fresh food to the community.
The purpose of the visit from state officials was to highlight the role that the markets have played in supporting Massachusetts agriculture and increasing food access, by providing fresh, locally grown foods to women and children in the WIC program, seniors, as well as to SNAP recipients, according to a news release from Farmers Market at Forest Park.
National Farmers Market Week is from August 6th through August 12th and is an annual celebration of farmers’ markets that has been proclaimed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and coordinated by the Farmers Market Coalition, which is a membership-based nonprofit organization that helps to support farmers’ markets nationwide through training, technical assistance, and network-building.
The Farmer’s Market at Forest Park is also celebrating 25 years of bringing fresh, locally grown food to the Forest Park community. The market currently hosts six farmers that are selling a wide variety of products, such as the largest selection of heirloom tomatoes in the area. Also, the market supports local entrepreneurs that looking to introduce their products to the community.
The Farmers Market at Forest Park accepts SNAP/HIP, WIC, and Senior Farmers Market Coupans, and is a collaborator with Rachel’s Table.
“Farmers markets are changing the way we eat, shop, connect, and more,” said Ben Feldman, the Policy Director of the Farmers Market Coalition. “Across the country, farmers’ markets are defining their role in our communities. Markets are designed in partnership with the people they serve and are a place where market operators, farmers, shoppers, and neighbors can collaborate to meet the evolving needs of their community. Throughout National Farmers Market Week 2023, we will be highlighting the ways farmers’ markets are making changes in communities nationwide. Join us!”
The Farmers Market at Forest Park runs every Tuesday in the parking lot at Cyr Arena from 12:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., May through October, as well as every other Saturday in the Shea/Bright Nights Technical Building from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., November through April.
The Brightwood Farmers’ Market was also visited by state and local officials on Tuesday. According to Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture, the Brightwood Farmers’ Market in Springfield is coordinated by All Farmers, and the vendors are groups of refugee and immigrant farmers in the All Farmers’ network.
You can also pay with Cash, SNAP, HIP, WIC, and Senior farmers’ market coupons.
This farmers market takes place at Brightwood Health Clinic at 380 Plainfield Street in Springfield. The market runs on Tuesdays from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. from July 5th to November 1st.
WWLP-22News, an NBC affiliate, began broadcasting in March 1953 providing local news, network, syndicated, and local programming to western Massachusetts. Follow 22News on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.