On Nov. 12, Phipps Neighborhoods celebrated its final of four Pop-Up Farmers Markets hosted at its affiliated organization’s sites in West Farms and Crotona Park.
Phipps’ fall food justice farmers markets have served more than 1,200 Bronx families with 18,000 pounds of healthy, local BIPOC grown produce and food from local farmers and food producers, through partner FoodStream. This series of free food access events aimed to address food insecurity and the lack of nutritious food available in Bronx Community District 6. Family food insecurity was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic across the South Bronx, and in these communities in particular.
The farmers markets were organized to make healthy food choices more accessible for community members in the poorest congressional district in America. Twenty-four percent of families in Bronx Community District 6 were experiencing food insecurity prior to the pandemic. A recent New York City Department of Health study found that 19% of Bronx CD6 residents report consuming fewer than one serving of fruits and vegetables per day. Organizers chose to collaborate with Phipps Houses to amplify the reach of the wrap-around services that Phipps Neighborhoods offers to residents and neighbors of Phipps Houses buildings.
“These farmers markets are very helpful for us to complement our meals,” said Elsa, a senior living at Lambert Houses. “It’s very hard to have access to fruits and veggies in this area. Fruits and veggies are needed for basic nutrition, and we don’t have access to it. And if we do, they are more expensive. We are very grateful for this.”
Thes final Pop-Up Farmers Market was held outside Phipps Houses Crotona Park West and Lynda Simmons Homes at 1581 Fulton Ave. Each person who attended one of the pop-up markets received enough food to feed a family of four for three days. Ultimately, these food access events connected families to more than 27,000 meals and 18,000 pounds of fresh produce. Recipe cards were offered in English and Spanish to provide culturally relevant options for cooking the produce provided.
“Our neighbors have struggled to access healthy options like fresh produce locally within their community long before COVID,” explained Allison Marino, director of external relations at Phipps Neighborhoods. “It’s fulfilling to bring partners together and to activate impactful opportunities for families through the Bronx Impact Food Access Collective to challenge the root causes of food insecurity.”