This past weekend the AFF, along with many community partners, hosted a no-cost Farmer’s Market at the Red Hook Community Center. Here are some reflections on the event, from Director/Founder Nick, Class of 2018 Ambassador Brenna Dolen (RHHS ‘12), and Class of 2018 Ambassador Emma Donahue (RHHS ‘14).
From Nick: The wildly successful No Charge Farm Market this weekend was initiated & organized by two of our 2018 ambassadors in Brenna Dolen and Emma Donahue. What a production and what results they realized! As part of our month long Nourish Your Neighbor Food Drive the event provided nutritional local farm produce, fruits, and even a fresh frozen turkey to 75 families and individuals. A crowd of about 150 was delighted by Chef Larry Anthony's food demonstrations, enjoyed the music from Maggie Rothwell, were amazed by food science experiments from students through Bard's Center for Civic Engagement, painted some pumpkins, and picked up a few necessities from our Community Action neighbors. The produce, fruits, and other foodstuffs were donated by Montgomery Place Orchards, Migliorelli's Farm, Brittany Hollow Farm, Bread Alone, TOPS, Adams, and Hannafords. And our turkey giveaway was made possible by the generous offering from Sky High Farm and the use of a refrigerated truck from Erina at Farmer's Door was a godsend. We're grateful for the 25 or so volunteers from the RHFA, the Rotary Club, and Bard who assisted in staging the Community Center from 10am to noon yesterday morning and in creating the market atmosphere. We're so pleased to have had such wonderful Red Hook Community support in assisting and embracing those members of the area who are less fortunate. Kudos to Everyone who had a role in the Market's success!
From Brenna: This community certainly has enough fresh food for everyone, it's just a matter of distribution of surplus and minimizing food waste. The donations we received from local farms were enormously generous, and I feel grateful that these community members came through with enthusiasm to support this event. This event would never have been possible without their support.
It is important to remember that the people receiving these donations may be the same people giving back a few years from now and vice versa. There was an immense amount of gratitude from community members, and support from our volunteers.
Between Maggie Rothwell's joyful voice, Chef Larry's food demonstrations, Bard CCE's chemistry activities, winter coat giveaways from Community Action, and pumpkin painting, the energy in the room was so positive.
From Emma: I never could have imagined what a huge impact this event would have on Red Hook's community. As someone who has been lucky enough to afford fresh, local produce I was not aware of the prevalence of food insecurity in this area. Coming together within the community has made me understand the wide gap that we worked toward bridging on Saturday. Utilizing this farm market as a means to work together to decrease the connection between food insecurity and health was amazing. Seeing everyone enjoying the delicious treats prepared by Chef Larry, chatting with individuals who were visiting the market, and feeling the sense of community that warmed the Red Hook Community Center was inspiring and gave me a glimpse into the possibilities for the future of food drives and steps toward bettering the relationship between food insecurity and health. I am excited at the prospect of continuing these healthy, sustainable food drives as well as continuing the work with community partners, families, and individuals.
The Farmer’s Market may be over, but our Nourish Your Neighbor campaign is just getting started! This food drive runs until November 27th. Read more here.