Forsyth Farmers Market Initiatives
As a registered dietitian and self- proclaimed “foodie”, produce is king in my book! Through my 10 + years in the nutrition profession, no matter where I lived (and believe me, I moved a lot)- I have always established connections to the local farmer’s markets both professionally and personally. And moving to Savannah, I knew it would be no different. The largest market in the area is at the Forsyth Park- open nearly year-round on Saturday mornings from 9-1pm. Is the local produce at the peak of nutrient dense freshness? Yes! Was it harvested that morning (or day ahead), which means it lasts in your fridge for 2 weeks? Absolutely! Is the pecan man a ray of sunshine on a Saturday morning? Chat him up to find out for yourself (you’ll soon discover a hard yes). Have I been tantalized by the smell of freshly made sausage samples? 100%- and may have snuck a second sample (shh!). I could go on and on about the benefits of local sourced produce/goods and supporting local famers- all my client know I’m a huge advocate for local sustainable practices, and I probably will in another blog. However, what I want to showcase today is all the amazing initiatives that you might not know the Forsyth Farmer’s Market (FFM) is doing behind the tents to support the health and wellness of the Savannah community.
Farm Truck 912: If transportation or work schedules create barriers from visiting the Saturday market – did you know the market can come to you on weekdays? Farm truck 912 is a mobile food truck that brings fresh, local produce and supplies sources directly from Saturday’s vendors to a variety of Savannah stops on weekdays – including senior centers, YMCAs, apartments, Skidaway Island, and Daffin park. Farm Truck 912 seeks to improve the affordability and accessibility of healthy, nutritious foods- something this dietitian can get behind. Farm Tuck 912 is willing to come to your community, business, organization, etc. to offer fresh local produce and other food artisan items- check their website to request a stop. Added bonus- their website lists what is available on the farm truck that week which can help your meal planning of nutrient-dense meals a breeze.
912 Food Farmacy: Forsyth Farmers’ Market is partnering with four local health clinics to serve low-income individuals who have or are at risk for diet-related chronic diseases: Memorial Health Children’s Hospital, Chatham County Health Department, St. Mary’s Health Center, and African American Health Information and Resource Center. Anyone eligible for SNAP, WIC, or Medicaid can participate in this nutrition education program from March through October, which includes a free monthly nutrition class and culinary demo and awards participants free produce vouchers that can be used at the market or farm truck. Please spread the word about this amazing Savanah community-based nutrition service.
Fresh for Less; Double Snap: In a continued effort to help those in need of access to affordable nutrient-dense local items. Did you know Forsyth Farmer’s Market and Farm Truck 912 is 1 of 20 markets in the state of Georgia that offer double SNAP and EBT when shopping?? This means your budget can go twice as far and taste twice as fresh. Fresh for Less is a program funded by Wholesome Wave Georgia and supported by fundraising and donations from participating markets. How does it work? Visit the market on Saturday, swipe your card for the desired amount and they’ll double that amount with wooden tokens that can be spent on produce, raw nuts, and edible plants. Or use your EBT card at a farm truck and receive 50% off your total purchase.
Mixed Greens: Forsyth Farmer’s market is a proud fiscal agent of Mixed Greens, a group of local Savannah residents with and without disabilities whose mission is mindfulness, whole health, and social justice for people of all abilities and backgrounds. Funded by the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities and built to create an inclusive environment via projects like farm tours, community dialogue/outreach, and fundraising this takes the sense of community to another level. Recent events included a virtual presentation on Accessible Gardening- geared at teaching how people with disabilities can get outside and garden. I love this concept of creating a can-do mentality for our community.
I hope this has helped shed some well-deserved spotlight on some of the amazing initiatives that might go unnoticed as you shop for your weekly supply of local goods. If you are able, please support these programs by sharing with members of your community and/or donating to fundraising efforts that keep these afloat. As a nutrition professional and new member of the Savanah community, I too vow to take an active role in promoting and supporting these much-needed programs, and I hope you’ll join me on this pursuit!
MS RDN, Co-Founder Georgia Offices
Sondra is a Licensed and Registered Dietitian with a Masters degree in Nutrition from Brooklyn College. She is experienced in individual and group counseling for all age groups, community nutrition, and culinary education. READ MORE..