USDA Under Secretary to help launch Produce Ped’lers program

Date posted: May 7, 2012

Media Contact: Shorlette Ammons, Center for Environmental Farming Systems, sammonss@ncat.edu, 919.288.0192
New project will use bicycles to deliver fresh produce from farmers’ markets

U.S. Department of Agriculture Under Secretary Kevin Concannon will be on hand in Goldsboro Wednesday for the launch of an innovative program designed to get fresh, local produce into city neighborhoods with limited access to fresh food.

The kickoff event will be held May 9 at 12 noon at the City Market in Herman Park on Herman Street in Goldsboro. The event will feature singing by Dillard Academy Charter School’s veggie chorus, cooking demonstrations and special give-a-ways. Other special guests will include Goldsboro officials, community partners and former N.C. Congresswoman Eva Clayton.

Produce Ped’lers, a program initiated by the Center for Environmental Farming Systems, will employ eight youths to peddle – literally – bicycle rickshaws with fresh produce to neighborhoods across the city. Like the bicycle ice cream deliveries of yesterday, the Produce Ped’lers hope to become a welcome sign of good things to eat across Goldsboro.

The main goal of the program is to increase access to fresh produce in food desert neighborhoods, said Shorlette Ammons, community-based foods systems outreach coordinator at the CEFS Small Farm Unit in Goldsboro. To make it easier for consumers to purchase produce, the City Market has received permission to accept cards for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly Food Stamps. Ammons’ goal is for the Produce Ped’lers to be able to accept the cards as well.

The Produce Ped’lers program will extend the reach and promote Goldsboro’s two farmers’ markets. The City Market has moved down the street to its new location in Herman Park. It is open Wednesdays, 9:30 a.m. ‘til dusk and on first Sundays, 1-4 p.m. The Plum Tree Market, located on George Street, has been in operation for two years now and is open Fridays, 4-7 p.m. The market offer arts and crafts from local artisans, in addition to freshly baked breads, jams, jellies and produce.

At the event Wednesday, Ammons hopes to have a demonstration rickshaw to show. The Produce Ped’lers program will actually get underway in late June or early July, once the infrastructure is in place to accept SNAP payments.

The project is funded by a USDA Farmers’ Market promotion grant. Community partners — including Dillard Academy Charter School, the Wayne County Health Department, the Wayne Food Initiative, the City of Goldsboro, Plum Tree Marketplace and the Center for Environmental Farming Systems — teamed up to launch this pilot program that will also employ young people and train them in farmers’ market management.

For more information about the Produce Ped’lers program, contact Ammons at sammonss@ncat.edu or 919.288.0192. Growers interested in selling at the City Market, should contact Mark Wilson at mwilson@ci.goldsboro.nc.us. For the Plum Tree Market, contact Joanne Lesak at grandpachildren@earthlink.net.

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