Yesterday was the last day of our local farmer’s & artisan’s market. It was a melancholy day for us as we said good bye to the vendors that had become like friends over the summer. It was also an incredibly chilly day in the market which made the passing of my beloved summer and the looming ice age of another Michigan winter more evident. It was like we were all going into hibernation and would not meet again until spring. I felt myself panicking a little bit and tying to hoard all the Michigan produce I could purchase as if I would never again find an edible piece of spinach.
It also marked the end of the season for our food donation program called Project Produce.
Some of you may recognize this from an earlier post on 6/18. We collected fresh produce and food items every Friday in our “Big Pink Cart” during our local farmer’s market. People donated from their purchases in the market, their own home gardens as well as from the grocery store. It was magical. every week I thought to myself…we cant possibly collect as much as we did last week and then there would be more.
As the market came to a close every Friday, we took the cart around and vendors shared with us any extra produce or food items that they were able to give. One week we were given seventy pounds of organic Michigan corn on the cob from one vendor alone.
We would then leave the market and deliver the amazing abundance of produce to our local domestic violence shelter.
There, they portioned out the food and gave it to the families in their transitional housing, those families working to get back up on their feet and rebuild their lives. We would bring beets, potatoes, apples, tomatoes and peaches by the bushels.
We came to learn that the families waited in anticipation to find out when the food had arrived and often times received help from the shelter staff to prepare the more unique produce items, some of which they had never seen before.
In sum, we have collected and delivered nearly 1600 pounds of food this season, with about 90% of it being fresh produce. The donations encouraged families to put more produce on their tables, to really expand plant based food options on their plates. With the help volunteers, our community, and a ton of the most generous farmers I have ever seen, we were able to help families change their worlds one meal at a time.
The Project Produce giving program is easy to do, it mostly takes some volunteer time, a bit of coordination and a “Big Pink Cart.” There are local farmer’s markets springing up all across the globe in large cities, small rural communities and every place in between. If you are interested in starting a Project Produce giving program in your community, please let us know and we’ll share what we can to help.
Have a delicious weekend.
Tags: Big Pink Cart, dearborn farmers market, domestic violence shelter, farmers market, going veg, produce donations, project produce, trying vegan, trying vegetarian, vegan experience, vegan wannabe