Every season, the reopening of the Peterborough Downtown Farmer’s Market signals that spring is finally here. On Wednesday May 4, the weekly market will officially reopen in the Louis Street Lot, marking its 19th year in operation and the return of an abundant source of local food in the heart of our city.
For the past three years, Nourish has contributed to the growth and vibrancy of the local Wednesday market through our Market Dollars program. Offered to participants in our food skills classes, and members of the community, the coupons, which are available in 2, 3 and 5-dollar amounts, can be used to purchase fresh produce from market vendors.
By introducing new consumers to the local market, Market Dollars offer an innovative way to connect eaters to delicious, locally produced food while making a measurable impact in our regional food economy.
Since launching in 2013, the program has reinvested over $6000 in local food. When the spin-off effects of these initial investments are considered, the total economic impact of the program is over $15,000. Also, because every dollar invested in the program is returned to farmers through food purchases, Market Dollars ensure the benefits of eating local directly benefit local food producers.
Eaters, of course, also benefit from the program. We often hear from members of our food skills programs that Nourish Market Dollars helped them to access a healthy diet. By helping make fresh, healthy, locally-produced food more accessible, the program creates opportunities to cook and try new foods at home.
To make the program viable, we rely heavily on the support of volunteers to sell and help promote Market Dollars at the Peterborough Downtown Farmer’s Market. Volunteering in this role typically involves a minimal commitment of a few hours each month to oversee our booth by selling coupons, collecting donations, and answering questions about the program.
We are currently seeking volunteers to help us grow the impact of Market Dollars during the 2016 market season. If you are a local food lover with some free time to spare on Wednesdays, we invite you to contact us to learn more about volunteer opportunities.
In the meantime, we hope you’ll join us celebrating the first foods of spring with the relaunch of the Peterborough Downtown Farmer’s Market and the Nourish Market Dollars Wednesday in the Louis Street Lot.