There’s nothing tastier than fresh greens or summer tomatoes from the neighborhood farmers market, but if you can’t make it to a market in metro Atlanta this summer, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension has you covered.
Starting the week of June 5 and running through September, UGA Extension personnel in DeKalb and Fulton counties will hit the road with fresh vegetables and set up shop at community centers, churches and libraries in areas that are underserved by traditional supermarkets.
In Fulton County, the Fulton Fresh Mobile Market — the original mobile produce market in metro Atlanta — will be back on the road again after a one-summer hiatus. “We’re extremely excited to visit and distribute locally grown, fresh produce in 12 communities this summer," said Von Baker, Fulton County Extension coordinator.
"We realized this was a service that our citizens needed around Fulton County, and we’re pleased to get our Fulton Fresh Mobile Market back on the road for the seventh season.”
As it has in the past, the Fulton Fresh truck will crisscross the county, providing neighborhood healthy cooking classes and bags of in-season produce for residents to use to recreate the meals covered in the cooking demonstration. UGA Extension and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) educators use the “Food Talk: Farmers Market” curriculum, and each demonstration includes short, stand-alone lessons on nutrition and tactics for feeding a family on a budget.
“We want residents to feel comfortable preparing the recipes that are being demonstrated in our classes at home,” said Kristen Sumpter, Fulton County Extension Family and Consumer Sciences agent. “Having a bag of fresh produce to take home encourages families to incorporate new ingredients and creative ways of preparing them, and that’s the first step in building healthier cooking habits.”
This year the Fulton Fresh program will run from June 5 through Aug. 9. Visit the UGA Extension Fulton County Facebook page at www.facebook.com/UGAExtensionFultonCounty/ for a full Fulton Fresh schedule.
Just a little further east, UGA Extension agents, volunteers and nutrition educators in the DeKalb County Extension office are also getting ready for market season with their Fresh on DeK bus. Fresh on DeK, DeKalb County’s Mobile Farmers Market begins its fourth season on June 5 and operates thru September 21, and it will provide a wide variety of affordable produce from their minty green bus. They’ll also be conducting nutrition lessons and recipe demonstrations for individuals at the market stops.
The program is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and sponsored by UGA Extension, the DeKalb County Board of Health and the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners. “Each year we’ve the seen the number of people buying vegetables from our Fresh on Dek bus increase,” said Lynwood Blackmon, UGA Extension County Extension coordinator for DeKalb County.
“We had about 500 people at our summer kickoff on May 19, and we’re excited to see the community’s enthusiasm for fresh vegetables grow as this summer’s market season gets underway.”
The complete Fresh on DeK schedule is posted at www.freshondek.com.