FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Councilwoman Bridget Fleming
Town Wins $10K for Flanders Market
State Grant Will Fund Hamlet’s ‘Farm Fresh’ Program
Southampton Town has won state funding for its Flanders Farm Fresh Food Market program. The $10,000 grant comes from New York’s FreshConnect program, which has supplied similar monies to 34 projects meant to increase access to local farm products in low-income and underserved areas.
“Flanders, Riverside and Northampton don’t have a local supermarket,” noted Councilwoman Bridget Fleming, who spearheaded the effort in the summer of 2011. “Fresh fruit and vegetables are more readily available in other parts of the Town.” The councilwoman added that previous focus group discussions with hamlet residents consistently identified the issue as a “high priority.” The closest supermarkets are located along Riverhead’s County Road 58, and on Montauk Highway in Hampton Bays. Neither is easily accessible without private transportation.
Under the Flanders model, now in its second season, produce is bought exclusively from eight Southampton farmers and then sold weekly at the Crohan Community Center on Flanders Road, which is also along the main route of Suffolk County’s S92 bus. The market itself is run by area youth and accepts cash as well as EBT, WIC, and Senior FMNP checks.
According to the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, the more than 6,500 residents of Flanders, Riverside and Northampton are among the 1.5 million New Yorkers who live in areas with limited supermarket access. Governor Andrew Cuomo, who launched the FreshConnect program last year, called it “a win-win situation for farmers and for families.”
With this latest round of grant awards, the chief executive’s office stated the effort will have helped a total of 48 new and existing farmers markets throughout the state. By expanding access, the goal is to improve nutrition while fostering community and economic development. “These FreshConnect grants will support creative solutions to get New York farm products to underserved areas of the state, creating new economic
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