NORWALK, Conn. -- When most people think of farmers markets they think of bustling vendors selling colorful fruits and veggies under fluttering tent tops to well-heeled women or hip millennials.
At Norwalk's five farmers markets -- including the new SoNo location opening on Saturday -- the above can be found, but so can mothers with WIC (Women, Infants & Children) or SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) cards, or the elderly from the senior center, or veterans who are searching for good, healthy food.
For Lyn Detroy, chairwoman of the Food Access Coalition, who operate the five Common Ground markets, it's all about providing the best locally grown fruit and veggies, to everyone, including those in need.
"We are so excited about the new market downtown because it offers access to the residents of the new apartments, to the more established seniors and to an entire neighborhood who might not have access to fresh food and vegetables," Detroy said.
To help draw those in need, the market will offer double the purchasing power to those with WIC and SNAP cards, as well as to seniors and veterans. They will also offer the same to anyone with a prescription from a doctor for healthy produce, she said.
For example, if a mother or a senior wants to purchase $5 worth of veggies from a vendor, they will be able to purchase $10 worth of food for the $5.
"In Fairfield County, more than 100,000 people struggle to find their next meal," Detroy said. "Our organization works to make sure that those people have access to fresh food and vegetables to help reduce those numbers."
The organization also works to raise funds and receive grants to be able to repay the farmer's they work with.
"The farmer's are repaid for the discounts they make every month," she said.
But just because someone in need might be searching out fresh food at the market, don't think the market's aren't fun. In addition to food, there's music and children's entertainment and a market table that offers everything from local honey to homemade bread to locally-made soaps.
"The markets are fun and lively and a great place to meet people," she said.
They are fun for children too with each provided a free book and a craft table with coloring and other happy events that keep little ones busy.
Besides the "hip" SoNo location, the organization also operates markets at:
- Tuesdays: Church of the Good Shepherd, 163 new Canaan Ave. 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. July to October.
- Wednesdays: Norwalk Community Health Center, 120 Connecticut Ave., from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Rainbow Plaza, 205 Main Ave., from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Both July to October.
- Thursdays: St. Paul's on the Green, 60 East Ave., July to October. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The new market is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday's at 50 Washington (the Square). For information on how to donate to the organization, email Idetroy@aol.com.
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