Woman holding shopping bag

Winter Market Produces More than Just Produce: Food Access Healthy Neighborhoods Now

Giving Voice Spring 2023: Cover Story

People shopping at food market

On a Sunday in January, Karen Harrison walked across the street from her home in Syracuse’s Valley neighborhood to the area’s first winter market. “I bought greens and onions, potatoes and garlic,” she said. “They’re good and fresh. I just went over there with my bags and filled them up and paid and went back home. It was that easy.”

The winter market, organized by Food Access Healthy Neighborhoods Now (FAHNN), runs the second and fourth Saturday of the month through April at an empty store in the Valley Plaza Shopping Center, 4141 S. Salina St.

Rhonda Vesey started the organization in May 2021 to provide food access to a Syracuse neighborhood with no grocery store. Since Tops closed its Valley Plaza store in 2018, neighbors lost easy access to fresh produce, dairy and meat. Transportation barriers make it difficult for many in a neighborhood with high levels of poverty and health inequity to travel to buy groceries.

Woman selfie
Rhonda Vesey

In July 2022, Audrey Haskell, the vice chair of Food Access Healthy Neighborhoods Now, Vesey, and other volunteers started a weekly outdoor summer market at Valley Plaza. Operating through October, it featured food grown at nearby Brady Farm and from other local vendors. Vesey also booked musical entertainment and invited representatives from Upstate Medical University Healthy Hearts Program to do blood pressure checks, help connect people with primary care physicians and educate them about smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

“It takes a lot to get a healthy neighborhood,” Vesey said. “Food is the start of that. You have to have a strong mind and a healthy body to get a job so you can feed your kids.”

The summer market was so successful, FAHNN wanted to operate a market in winter, too. A grant from our Anti-Poverty Initiative Fund supported hiring Vesey as outreach manager and coordinator for the winter market.

Woman shopping in market
Karen Harrison

The winter market is “constantly busy,” Vesey said, with customers buying produce, baked goods and eggs from local vendors and wholesale sellers. Brady Faith Center, which sponsors FAHNN, often sells out of the fruits and vegetables grown at its Brady Farm.

Harrison, a longtime supporter of Brady Farm, tries to eat locally and eat seasonally. “If most of my greens and salad items are grown locally that’s valuable,” she said.

The winter market shares that vision. “You can walk two or three blocks with your bag and pick up onions and potatoes,” she said. “You aren’t picking up chips and cookies. It helps you be more intentional about being healthy.”

The winter market also provides social benefits. “A bunch of my neighbors were there,” Harrison said. “You’re seeing people from the community and saying ‘hello.’”

Vesey is thrilled that’s happening. “We’re weaving a positive web into the community,” she said. “We want to bring folks out long enough to feel good about their community.”

The 2023 summer market is expected to begin in June and continue until October.

Building

Related Stories

Community Voices header image
Blogs May 13, 2024

Housing Designed for Syracuse Neighborhood Needs

Katie Weaver, director of development of A Tiny Home for Good, explains how A Tiny ...

What we are up to staff image
Topics April 23, 2024

What We Are Up To: CNYCF Staff Updates

Learn about the expertise and passionate commitment amongst our team members as they drive positive ...

Publications April 22, 2024

Beyond Great Expectations: An Unexpected Gift with Unending Impact

The unexpected and unrestricted nature of Lucy’s bequest echoes the quiet yet profound impact individuals ...

Koerner Family outside
Publications April 22, 2024

The Koerner Family Funds: Like Parents, like Daughters

Education was a cornerstone for the Koerner kids, instilled by their successful and civic-minded parents. ...

Cortland Bright Ideas 2024
News Releases April 17, 2024

$55,000 In Grants Awarded to Cortland County Nonprofits

Applicants were invited to submit a ‘bright idea’ for enhancing their nonprofit and explain how ...

Woman standing in office
Stories March 19, 2024

Giving Seamlessly: Leyla Morgillo

Giving has always been intrinsic to Leyla Morgillo's being whether it be through her time ...

hand holding growing money
Publications March 5, 2024

FAQS: A Snapshot of Clients’ Tax-Time Charitable Giving Questions

With the year is in full swing, now is a good time for advisors to ...

Men gardening
Blogs March 5, 2024

A safe space for Deaf New Americans to develop education, leadership, and life skills without limitation

Monu Chhetri, founder & CEO of Deaf New American Advocacy, Inc. explains how her participation ...

Community Voices header image
Blogs May 13, 2024

Housing Designed for Syracuse Neighborhood Needs

Katie Weaver, director of development of A Tiny Home for Good, explains how A Tiny ...

What we are up to staff image
Topics April 23, 2024

What We Are Up To: CNYCF Staff Updates

Learn about the expertise and passionate commitment amongst our team members as they drive positive ...

Publications April 22, 2024

Beyond Great Expectations: An Unexpected Gift with Unending Impact

The unexpected and unrestricted nature of Lucy’s bequest echoes the quiet yet profound impact individuals ...

Koerner Family outside
Publications April 22, 2024

The Koerner Family Funds: Like Parents, like Daughters

Education was a cornerstone for the Koerner kids, instilled by their successful and civic-minded parents. ...

Cortland Bright Ideas 2024
News Releases April 17, 2024

$55,000 In Grants Awarded to Cortland County Nonprofits

Applicants were invited to submit a ‘bright idea’ for enhancing their nonprofit and explain how ...

Woman standing in office
Stories March 19, 2024

Giving Seamlessly: Leyla Morgillo

Giving has always been intrinsic to Leyla Morgillo's being whether it be through her time ...

hand holding growing money
Publications March 5, 2024

FAQS: A Snapshot of Clients’ Tax-Time Charitable Giving Questions

With the year is in full swing, now is a good time for advisors to ...

Men gardening
Blogs March 5, 2024

A safe space for Deaf New Americans to develop education, leadership, and life skills without limitation

Monu Chhetri, founder & CEO of Deaf New American Advocacy, Inc. explains how her participation ...

View More