Farmers markets bring fresh produce to city neighborhoods

April 29, 2010

I applaud Laura Vozzella's profile of entrepreneurs in our farmers markets ("First harvest," April 28). However, her focus on goats and pedal-powered smoothies missed the big picture: farmers markets provide Baltimoreans with fruits and vegetables that are missing in our communities.

Most neighborhoods don't offer fresh food. In Southwest Baltimore, 75 percent of food stores don't sell any produce. Only two of 13 neighborhoods analyzed in the Baltimore DrillDown have the recommended grocery shelf-space per resident. The average Baltimorean must travel .53 miles to the closest supermarket, if carrying groceries and children on multiple city buses doesn't convince them to stay home.

Farmers markets help fill this gap. Baltimore's 10 farmers markets sell local produce weekly during the growing season. These markets currently accept food benefits from mothers with small children, but to process food stamps for everyone, the city needs to purchase EBT benefit machines for each location. Only then will farmers markets realize their full potential for Baltimore's health.

Remle Stubbs-Dame, Baltimore

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