Over the last six months we have been highlighting an affordable farm market that is a part of the HAELFS Collaborative. HAELFS stands for Health, Access, and Equity in our Local Food System. The Collaborative is finishing its third year and includes five pantry resource centers. Since the collaborative has begun, each partner site has opened an affordable food market in their community. Each market creates access for everyone in their community to acquire nutritious food at a low cost. Produce available is sourced from local small farms, stimulating the local economy. Together, we are working to create a culture of health within our communities. This month we are highlighting The Green Apple, read more about the work they are doing in our interview below:
What does your market look like now? What are you sourcing? How do you stock your market?
Our market is currently set-up with 3 dry storage areas for produce and a cooler case and freezer for cold and frozen items. We also run mobile market 2 days per week to 5 different low-income senior communities. We carry Michigan honey, beans, popcorn, eggs, maple syrup & various jellies. We stock our market using Cherry Capital Foods, Green Tree & Farm Link. We stock our market with primarily produce which currently is mostly root vegetables, but we have a small amount of Michigan Products as well.
How has organization overall leaned into the objectives of HAELFS Collaborative?
Overall, we have leaned on the objectives of the HAELFS collaborative by utilizing our purchasing power to offer our neighbors local vegetables and vegetable products. Classes in cooking, health management, kitchen safety and gardening have/are being offered as well.
What changes have been made?
Over the past 3 years, minimal changes have been made in products purchased. Our neighbors enjoyed the fresh vegetables but consistently inquired about honey, maple syrup & eggs. We began purchasing these items along with a few low sugar jellies and jams.
What relationships have you built because of the market?
Over the past 3 years we have strengthened our relationship with our neighbors, we have built relationships with a few local farmers, urban gardeners & local business’ in our area. It has also given the opportunity to create relationships with other pantries and their employees in the area.
What are your dreams for the market?
Our dreams would be to continue serving our neighbors with a discounted Fresh Market. Our mobile market has more success than our Fresh Market at the pantry, so I would like to expand to more communities low income and others, including the other communities would be able to purchase paying full price(pantry supporter) which would help us afford to sell items discounted to lower income communities (pantry patron).
What is your fastest selling produce item?
Our fastest selling produce item is cabbage.
What is one thing you would want everyone in your community to know about your market?
We would like everyone to know we are selling Michigan made Products to all our neighbor’s not just Pantry participants. Utilizing our Fresh Market before shopping your name brand stores helps to support Michigan farmers & help to support our ability to offer fresh foods & vegetables to our low-income neighbors.