New Roots’ Gendler Grapevine Fresh Stop Market made its first ever stop at The J on Wednesday, September 7, bringing vegetables, herbs and fruit for the community. Sixty-four people purchased shares and some produce was available for others to purchase. The J will continue to host a market every other Wednesday from 4:30-6:30 p.m.
People collected their shares of fresh-off-the-farm foods, from okra to tomatoes to beets to apples. The availability changes based on the season but one thing remains constant at every Fresh Stop Market: all fruits and vegetables are local.
The J’s JOFEE (Jewish Outdoor, Food, Farming and Education) fellow, Michael Fraade, worked with New Roots to make The J a Fresh Stop Market.
“This market accomplishes so many of our goals at the J: it gives people access to fresh, high-quality produce, engages the community in social justice work, and creates stronger connections between us and our neighbors. We have been organizing for this Fresh Stop Market for many months and it’s thrilling to see such a wonderful project become a reality.” Fraade said.
He added that he was very excited that the market has such strong support within the community. “Sixty-four shares is excellent – it’s comparable to the numbers you might see at many other Fresh Stop Markets, and we’re only in our first week. The great community response hopefully means that we’ll continue to grow as people spread the word to their friends and as we strengthen our connections to neighborhood organizations that are interested in partnering with us.”
Karyn Moskowitz, executive director of New Roots, Inc., said she began the Louisville-based nonprofit organization in 2009 as a way to provide a just and thriving food system in Louisville metro by providing education and access to fresh and local food for urban residents.
According to Sustain Magazine, a 2007 report from Community Farm Alliance found that in lower income neighborhoods of Louisville, there’s only one grocery store for every 22,000 residents.
Fresh Stop Markets became a way to bridge that divide. That Wednesday, The J was among the top stops for providing the most shares.
Each market also offers cooking demonstrations from local chefs to show how to use the fresh food. The J’s stop featured chef was Sasha Chack of Izzy’s Catering.
Chack used potatoes and spices to make a kosher curry Samosa. He also made a fresh tomato and beet salad for the public to sample.
Jeff Tuvlin, the Jewish Community of Louisville Board member who was instrumental in bringing the JOFEE program to Louisville, formally welcomed everyone to The J’s first Fresh Stop market.
“New Roots has been a wonderful partner for the JCL in our mission-driven goals of tikkun olam [repairing of the world], strengthening the community, engaging new people and collaborative programming,” Tuvlin said. “The Fresh Stop Market is a natural extension of the justice work we are called to do as members of a community.”
Fresh Stop Markets allow families to pay in on a sliding scale, a week to three days in advance of the Market – $6 for families on WIC, $12 for families with limited resources, $25 for all others. Those who are able are also encouraged to make additional donations to underwrite the cost of the produce for those who cannot afford it.
Moskowitz said this allows communities to purchase wholesale quantities of 10 varieties of seasonal produce from a network of 50 Kentuckiana farmers. On market day, each family receives the same “share” of affordable, delicious produce, regardless of what they paid.
To purchase your share at the next Fresh Stop Market at The J on September 21 or to donate, visit http://www.newroots.org/store/c16/Gendler_Grapevine.html. Volunteers are also needed. To volunteer, contact New Roots at 502-475-8979.