While Market Greens is only open for a few more weeks, its mother program, Community Food Smart, will continue to operate as an option for those struggling to afford healthy foods.
Market Greens is a non-profit organization that sells cheap, fresh produce at the Fredericton Public Library every Wednesday from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m. Vendors sell everything from apples and oranges, to kale and brussel sprouts.
“People were saying, ‘I need to eat and want to eat healthy, but I just can’t afford the prices when I go to the grocery store.’ So we’re saying, ‘here’s an option for you,’” said Susanne White, co-founder of Community Food Smart.
A branch of Community Food Smart is offered at the St. Thomas University Students’ Union help desk in James Dunn Hall. The program is open and inclusive to anyone that wants groceries at an affordable price. They assemble a $15 bag that includes food staples that would cost more otherwise.
“We’re not a group of poor people; we’re a group of smart shoppers,” said White.
The non-profit also operates a community fridge in the library that offers free, pre-packaged food for anyone who needs it.
“There are homeless people in the downtown that can come in here, grab an apple, go up and sit in a chair, take shelter, and feel like they’re in a safe space. And feel like they’re welcomed,” said White.
Deidre Chown has purchased fresh produce for her family at Market Greens for more than one year now. She finds it convenient and says prices are lower than larger grocery stores, which makes a difference for her as economic inflation continues to skyrocket.
“My kids love going every week and look forward to what we get,” said Chown, a mother of two. “It has allowed me to try things and recipes that I may not have tried or bought otherwise.”
Market Greens is both an affordable and sustainable program, with White and her coworkers sourcing their produce from a wholesaler and charging the same wholesale price. They also buy from local growers and donate leftovers to the Greener Village Food Bank.
Tammy MacMaster, a co-founder of Community Food Smart, said the most rewarding aspect of the program is knowing that it makes a difference in peoples’ lives.
“Seeing the smiles on their faces and how appreciative they are … it’s really nice,” said MacMaster.