RSU 3 fruit and veggie market meets with success
Thorndike — The first fruit and veggie market, held at the Mount View Complex, met with strong interest from community members.
The fruit and veggie market, which is free to students and RSU 3 community members, is the result of a partnership between the district and the Good Shepherd Food Bank, Food Nutrition Director Allison Daugherty said.
Due to the high percentage of students in the district who qualify for free and reduced lunch, about 70 percent, Daugherty said Good Shepherd had approached the district earlier in the year about starting a backpack program.
Good Shepherd's backpack program offers fruit, vegetables, grains and proteins to students to eat on weekends and during school vacations. According to information about the program, it costs about $250 a year per student to fund the program.
Because she didn't have the funding to participate in the backpack program, Daugherty instead discussed the idea of holding the monthly fruit and vegetable market.
During the first market, which was held Friday, Feb. 7, bags of potatoes and oranges, as well as cucumbers, tomatoes, tangerines and turnips were distributed to students and community members. Each bag that was given out, contained about $20 worth of fruit and vegetables.
Any of the food supplied by the Good Shepherd Food Bank that isn't given away will go to the Volunteer Regional Food Pantry, which is based in Unity.
As an added bonus, Daugherty said the market reduces some of the food waste at the complex because she can give away items that might be too ripe to serve the following week.
Within 20 to 30 minutes on Friday, all of the food supplied by Good Shepherd was handed out. Daugherty said she asked for a smaller amount of food for the first market in order to gauge interest and due to Friday's results, she will ask for significantly more for the next market in March.
Daugherty said she will also ask for a variety of foods to keep things fresh and interesting. She also discussed the possibility of offering recipes to help with meal planning.
The market will be held once a month at the Mount View Complex beginning at 3:30 p.m. and ending at 5:30 p.m. or until the food is gone.
Ben Holbrook is a reporter for The Republican Journal covering general news.
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