Last summer, a new program, Green for Greens, kicked off as part of a wider program to include fresh fruits and vegetables sold at the Beacon's Farmers' Market to be available to people on food assistance programs including SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program formerly known as "food stamps" but dedicated on nutritional food), WIC (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children servicing low-income pregnant women, breastfeeding women, and infants and children under the age of five) or FNMP.
Just four months after the launch, the program ran out of funds due to high popularity. The program will be available again for the 2017 growing season, but this year, the Beacon Farmers' Market is launching a fundraiser, "Soup for Greens Fundraiser," to raise money in advance to keep the program funded after its allotted budget runs out. The "Soup for Greens Fundraiser" is this Sunday, February 12, 2017 at the indoor location for the Beacon Farmers' Market at the VFW Building (aka the Memorial Building at the intersection of Main Street and Rt. 52 by the diner) from 10am-2pm.
The Green for Greens program, founded by Helena Bratman who also leads the Green Teens, implemented it with the idea to double the money benefits recipients receive from assistance programs for fruits and vegetables. The Green for Greens matching program is unique to Beacon and is not yet available in other communities.
What Is Available At This Fundraiser?
The Beacon Farmers' Market will be selling an array of hearty winter soups including meaty, vegan and vegetarian varieties for $10 that you can enjoy on the spot. There are take-away options for those who bring their own containers for freezing or eating later. For $25, supporters can choose a hand crafted ceramic bowl from local artisans including Virginia Piazza, who frequently has a booth at the market.
For those who cannot attend the event but want to pay a bowl of soup forward, there is an online donation option available here. Donors will receive a soup recipe, and a lucky person in need will receive a bowl of soup.
Where Do The Funds Go, And How Do People In Need Find Out About It?
All proceeds collected from selling soup and bowls will go to the Green for Greens Double Up Program, a program that doubles the amount of money available from the food assistance program in order to buy fresh fruits and vegetables at the Beacon Farmers' Market and Common Greens mobile markets around town.
Last year, the program distributed $3,000 to people who qualified before running out, according to the Beacon Farmers' Market Manager Sarah Simon. "We got the word out last year by hanging posters in key locations – the Beacon Community Health Center, the WIC office, the SNAP/EBT office – and so forth," Sarah recalled. "We also did a flyer distribution as well as a robo-text (text to all families) in the Beacon City School District. The mobile market, which is a program started by Green Teens and Helanna Bratman in 2015, is also well-attended, so we made an announcement there as well. This year, we hope to do more tabling at community events."
Support from Businesses and Individuals
Volunteer support from citizens in the community have been cooking soups, including a large donation of paper goods from Quinn's and offerings to borrow burners from the Beacon Pantry and Jennifer Clair. Over a dozen will staff the event and assist with outreach, according to outreach coordinator Jill Rubin.
The benefits program made available within the Beacon Farmers' Market is sponsored by CCEDC Green Teen & Common Ground Farm, with additional support from United Way, Poppy's, Obercreek Farm, Homespun Foods, Fishkill Farms and Hudson River Healthcare.
What Else Is Available At the Beacon Farmers' Market?
Fresh produce enthusiasts can also get fresh seafood at the Beacon Farmers' Market as well as poultry, depending on what is in season and which vendor is there. The Farmers' Market will remain at its indoor location at the Memorial Building on Sundays until April 9th, and then reopens its outdoor location by the Hudson River on April 23rd. While you're there, don't forget to tip the fiddler.