This is our tenth season of the East Palo Alto Community Farmers’ Market, and we are going stronger than ever!
We started the market earlier in the year this year than last (mid-April) and plan to keep it open longer (hopefully through mid-December). We have experienced average weekly attendance at the market at around 100-150 households each week, which means we are on schedule to exceed last year’s attendance numbers.
We still have our wonderful small family farms as our farmers/vendors and have also NEW! this year added a local EPA urban farmer (and CGN member), Self Sufficient Life! We have also expanded beyond produce to include eggs from a small local egg producer, Windy Hill Eggery.
We have also been experiencing some great changes with our Matching Program. We have a new partnership with the Ecology Center of Berkeley, which gives us access to federal FINI funds to support our participants who utilize their EBT (CalFresh/SNAP) at the market. This portion of our Matching Program is called Market Match.
Our Fresh Checks Matching Program is also still going strong, supporting participants who utilize their own cash (for qualifying individuals) and other federal benefits, such as WIC and Senior FMNP.
With these changes, we have also needed to change the way we make our matches. We still offer the generous dollar-for-dollar match up to $20/month, which gives participants $40 worth of buying power for only $20 of cash or benefits use. Our change is that we now have a daily versus monthly limit. We now match up to $5 per market day, equaling $20 per month.
We continue to work toward making the market a great community resource not only for fresh, local produce (and eggs!), but also for access to needed information and community resources. We have had many regular info tables, such as Nuestra Casa, Environmental Alternatives (a foster care agency), the CalFresh and WIC programs agencies, EPAMade (a social enterprise to create jobs in EPA), and Al Anon support for families to name a few.
In June, we were sad to say goodbye to Raffaella Cerruti, our former Market Manager/Outreach Coordinator, but were happy to welcome Deepak Maharaj to the team as our Market Manager. In a funny turn of events, we are flipping the tables once again. Deepak has accepted a wonderful opportunity for full-time employment at Stanford, and Raffaella is back from Italy and ready to retake her old post! Many fond wishes to Deepak. We have enjoyed working with him and wish him success. Meanwhile, we welcome Raffaella back!
We would love to have your help as one of our regularly dedicated farmers' market volunteers. If you are interested, sign up online and let us know. Come help us help provide our food-insecure community have greater access to healthy foods!