Feast Down East expanded its mission to increase local produce distribution and food access with the launch of a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) produce box program in mid-April. The organization announced last week that the program, started in part because of initial coronavirus restrictions, will continue.
Executive director Cara Stretch explained that the restrictions on restaurants as well as social distancing and stay-at-home orders have all impacted the local food system. She said that while a CSA program is something that the organization had been exploring prior to the pandemic, the coronavirus crisis was a catalyst for getting it up and running.
In a newsletter update June 23, the organization stated, “As long as our farmers have products available and there's interest from our customers, we are going to continue the weekly CSA boxes! They have been a great way to support our farmers during this time of need and connect folks to the local goodness they grow and raise."
For $35, customers can purchase a half-bushel box filled with a variety of locally sourced seasonal produce, the contents of which change weekly based upon availability. In addition to the produce boxes, items such as eggs, bacon, ground beef, sausage, honey and cheese may be available.
Orders must be placed by Wednesday for pickup on Friday at Seagate Baptist Church, 6115 Oleander Drive, from 4-6p.m.
In addition to the CSA, Feast Down East has been working in partnership with the Wilmington Housing Authority to provide fresh produce to food insecure neighborhoods at seven Local Motive Mobile Farmers Market sites.
The mobile farmers market operation accepts SNAP/EBT or food stamps, debit and cash as forms of payment and in addition to participating in the Fresh Bucks program for SNAP/EBT customers, for each dollar SNAP recipients withdraw from their account to spend on their purchase will be matched with an additional dollar, for up to a total of $20 worth of Fresh Bucks.
The Local Motive Mobile Farmers Market additionally offers educational resources and health-based education for healthy practices through collaborations with the Health Department, New Hanover Regional Medical Center, the Cooperative Extension and UNCW.
According the June newsletter, on Saturday, May 16, and again on Friday, June 12, the Local Motive Mobile Farmers Market participated in a drive-thru market at DREAMS on the Northside in partnership with NourishNC, Voyage, NHRMC Health Equity, Northside Bridge Builders and Wrightsville Beach Brewery.
Over 325 community members were reached on these days with free food boxes, hot meals, cleaning supplies and reasonably priced produce.
For information on volunteer opportunities with the Local Motive Mobile Farmers Market or the CSA program, visit the Feast Down East website
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