OPENAIR

Market Network

Measurements at Farmers Markets Inspire ACTION

Farmers markets are multifunctional activities, threading together many types of purposes people have. Elderly often fondly recall the days of their youth at local markets and we know that markets decreased over the course of their lives, but we also know the demand for local foods have returned marketplaces to prominence over the last 30 years. We also know that the elderly are often relatively confined and unable to get out to these public spaces. Hernando MS, has increased SNAP participation at their market, but they have also drawn attention for their success in attracting senior citizens to their market. The market in Hernando is organized by the City of Hernando and supervised by Gia Matheny. The market began accepting tokens at a central terminal in 2016 and this increased work load allowed Gia to hire a manager and assistant manager as well, which freed her time for adding more market activities and focusing on other innovative bridge-building in her community. Recognizing the needs of senior citizens in the community she developed a partnership with AARP and United Health Care to incentivize the token program to double SNAP benefits, and from there she has organized a Senior Day on the first Saturday of each month.  Knowing that transportation can be a problem she wrote a successful a grant from an area transportation provider that provides free transportation for seniors on these market days. Senior Day is an important time for seniors to socialize with one another, and this activity contributed to Hernando becoming the first “AARP Senior Friendly Community” in the state of Mississippi. The program success increases the number of seniors coming to each Senior Day, and furthermore, data from the market shows a 70% redemption rate of senior vouchers. Certainly a more comprehensive discussion would describe the organizational activities required to execute this program, yet, the program is a great example.

Dia De Los Muertos – San Salvador, El Salvador

Last Saturday on my way back from a beautiful botanical garden in San Salvador, El Salvador, I came upon a street lined with a variety of vendors leading up to a cemetery where hundreds of people paid their respects to deceased loved ones on Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead). The ceremonial days, which originated in Mexico dating back to the Aztecs, have spread throughout Latin America with many variations and customs of the celebration depending on the country. Surviving loved ones visit the graves of their departed friends and family to bring gifts and offerings such as flowers, food, and favorite objects amongst others. Various vendors sold flowers, both real and synthetic, jewelry, clothing, art, various foods including pupusas, a cheese and bean filled tortilla-like snack topped with cabbage and hot sauce, grilled corn, and others like fried plantain chips and grilled chicken plates with beans and rice.

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Santiago, Chile

In early October, prior to ending my time in South America and catching a flight to Central America for the remainder of my travels and work, I spent a few days in the tremendously historic capital of Chile, Santiago. Amongst one of the most affluent countries in Latin America, Santiago and Chile as a whole from my perception was more European influenced, in line with other cities I visited like Buenos Aires.

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Farmer’s Markets

Good day folks,

I’ll be interviewed on Wisconsin public radio Monday, July 14. You can access the interview on the web.

Also have a look at the farmers market coalition webpage for new work on farmers markets. http://farmersmarketcoalition.org, a new USDA grant with them will help market managers conduct and report research on marketplaces.

best to all!
Alfonso

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