Woodland City Council to Fund Mobile Farmers Market – Daily Democrat

The Woodland City Council has passed a resolution authorizing negotiations to reach an agreement to provide city funding for the Woodland Mobile Farmers Market project.

The city will provide up to $250,000 in city funding to be used for initial start-up, staffing and operating expenses for the Land-Based Learning Center project, with any unused funds retained or returned to the city, depending on the city. staff report.

“There is a compelling need to increase access to fresh, healthy food in low-income neighborhoods suffering from the effects of ‘food deserts’,” the report says. “Families who suffer from food insecurity do not have access to healthy foods and unfortunately suffer disproportionately from diet-related illnesses.”

A 2018 study of food insecurity in Yolo County by the California Institute of Rural Studies determined that there is a lot of food insecurity locally.

“The study was primarily focused on farmworker families in low-resource rural areas, and the study found that 32% of low-income farmworker families in Yolo County have difficulty accessing wholesome and nutritious food,” summarizes the staff report. “Nationally, 14.5% of low-income farmworker families struggle to access healthy food, while in California, 15.6% of low-income farmworker families struggle. to access healthy food.

The Mobile Farmer’s Market project’s goal will be to bring about change in low-income Food Desert communities by providing healthy, nutritious food to low-income Woodland residents, causing “innovative and strategic changes in the food system local by empowering local farmers. to cultivate culturally relevant crops for low-income residents.

The project is modeled after the West Sacramento pilot launched last year and will likely operate primarily during harvest season – June through October – serving residents at least two days a week of electricity in at least two locations determined by community surveys that will be available this summer, according to the report.

“The mobile market truck will be stocked with produce from urban and beginning farmers in the region,” the report adds. “The program will use the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Electronic Benefit Transfer and Market Benefits to make the products more accessible to low-income communities and at the same time provide a fair price to the farmers who grow them.”

The project is seeking funding for the next two years which amounts to approximately $470,000 – of which $220,000 will be funded by the county and the remaining $250,000 funded using funds from the city’s US bailout .

“The idea of ​​a mobile market that provides food to low-income neighborhoods in Woodland taps into a service and market point that did not exist in Woodland,” the report notes. “Yolo County is an agriculture-rich region with many food producers and growers, which provides unique opportunities for organizations addressing food insecurity.”

Mayor Mayra Vega said she believed it was a wonderful role model and suggested working with partners in the community to address some health issues, especially among Woodland’s youth.

“Woodland Clinic Medical Group has a very active medical community that does a lot of education for children who are trying to deal with the childhood obesity that exists among the children’s community,” she pointed out.

Tania Garcia-Cadena, counselor and executive director of Woodland Food Closet, noted that the food closet has been around for more than 50 years but has been unable to dispense fresh fruits and vegetables due to its size.

“I see it as a real height in our community and the fact that you’re going to go where people make a huge difference,” she said. “I know that since the pandemic the food cupboard has set up delivery services for some of our elderly citizens or those who for one reason or another cannot have transportation, so I see that as also creating a sense of community.

Council voted unanimously to pass the resolution authorizing the City Manager to enter into an agreement to provide municipal funding to the Woodland Mobile Farmer’s Market project and to allocate $250,000 in general fund reserve balances.

Casey J. Nelson