The Prescott Farmers Market is launching several innovative programs to meet urgent needs and address anticipated needs
For 23 years, the nonprofit Prescott Farmers Market (PFM) has been connecting farmers and ranchers to the community. While most Prescottonians are aware of the Saturday market, they may not know about the additional services that PFM provides to the public.
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented unique opportunities for PFM to expand services and increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables to those in our community who need them the most.
In March this year, PFM closed the standard market and instead launched an online store where people could purchase goods online and pick up their orders each Saturday at a drive-through. This move came at a moment when many people were wary of going to the grocery store and anxious about the food supply. It was also when many people were unable to work and couldn’t afford food for their families.
In anticipation of food insecurity, PFM launched the Feed Your Neighbors program, which invited community members to make charitable donations to help feed those in need. Through the program, PFM was able to purchase vegetables, meat, eggs, and more from local farmers and collaborate with partner agencies to deliver boxes to food-insecure households. Because of generous donations, PFM has been able to give more than $12,400 worth of local foods and garden seedlings to 350 households in need and continues to do so. The Feed Your Neighbors program not only benefits those in need, but also supports small farmers and ranchers in Yavapai County, which helps them sustain their own families and businesses.
In addition to meeting the urgent needs of the community, PFM is working to address anticipated needs in the future. Food scarcity at the beginning of the pandemic caused many people to start a home garden. With this in mind, in October, PFM began an exciting collaboration with the City of Prescott to pilot a small-scale community compost program which will utilize volunteers to collect, pile and turn food scraps from ten local restaurants. Finished compost will be distributed to agricultural producers and will be available to the public for free. Additionally, PFM, Janet Wilson Gardens, and the Prescott Public Library are collaborating to create a seed library for cardholders this coming spring. With these three programs combined, Prescott Farmers Market aims to feed the community today and in the future, all while building a sustainable local food system for all.
Be sure to check out the weekly market at the YRMC Miller Valley parking lot every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. as well as a special downtown market at the Tour Prescott lot at the corner of Goodwin and Montezuma on Wednesday, December 23 from 2:30-5:30 p.m.
For more information or to make a tax credit donation to any of PFM’s community programs, visit www.prescottfarmersmarket.org.