2009-11-13 / Community

RWA Brings Kids To Farmers Market

After months of hard work in their garden, students from the Rockaway Waterfront Alliance afterschool program went to see the place where every farmer in New York hopes to sell his or her produce: the Greenmarket in Union Square.

It was the first time any of the students had been to the market and though the sight of so many stands lining the park with pounds upon pounds of locally-produced goods is enough to excite anyone, the experience was es - pe cially important to these students. After months of gardening, they knew how difficult it can be to grow food. There are bugs and weather to worry about, not to mention squirrels.

So it was with great respect that they visited each stand at the market, marveling at how the farms could provide such a variety and quantity of produce to the market.

One of the students remarked that she hadn't always thought of farming as a profession around New York City, but going to the market and chatting with people at the different stands, she learned that many of them were able to make a living by farming only an hour or two from the city.

"I realized it's very important," the student re marked, "that we buy from the farmers market because it means we're giving our money directly to farmers so they can stay in business. They make more here than they do selling to grocery stores. So I think it's a good thing to shop here."

They were also able to see that farmers markets usually offer much more than a grocery store can. Many of the students had to ask what different fruits and vegetables were because they had never seen them before.

They hadn't realized that an outdoor market might actually be a better place to shop than a big grocery store where they couldn't meet the people who had grown the food.

The students came back, purchases in hand, promising that they would visit the farmers markets in the Rockaways more often now that they had realized all the benefits of shopping at one. Joseph Addabbo Family Health Cen ter has been hosting a farmers market this year at Beach 60 Street and Beach Channel Drive every Saturday morning and has great results serving the local community.

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