Downtown Farmers’ Market Feeding Cary Residents Through Summer Outreach

Cary, NC – While Cary and Wake County are some of the best places to live in the entire country, there are still many people who are food insecure. And over the Summer, the Downtown Cary Farmers’ Market is working on programs to help get more food to the people who need it.

Farmer FoodShare

For Rick Savage, market manager for the Downtown Cary Farmers’ Market, the weekly marketplace is a way for Caryites to meet and talk, and the inclusion of Summer outreach programs only helps that.

“It creates a strong community spirit,” Savage said. “And it let’s people know about these programs.”

One of these programs is the farmers’ market’s collaboration with the Farmer FoodShare program. Savage said it is the second year the downtown market has worked with them.

“People bring in food and donate it at the farmers’ market. And if they donate cash, it goes to the farmers to buy produce and then donate it,” Savage said. “Each farmers’ market looks for distributors to get the food. We give it to Dorcas Ministries.”

Through the success of Farmer FoodShare, Savage said Dorcas is getting more fresh produce, which is more nutritious as well. In fact, they now have so much that Savage said Dorcas is holding cooking classes to help people prepare these new ingredients.

And while part of Farmer FoodShare involves cash donations that farmers use to buy produce for donations, Savage said the farmers find extra ways to be generous.

“They always donate more food than they get paid for,” Savage said. “They contribute as much as anyone, or more.”

Getting Students Fed

Another outreach program the Downtown Cary Farmers’ Market puts on in the Summer is getting lunches to children who might not otherwise get it.

Through the Wake County Public School System’s free and reduced lunches, many students get one of their meals through the Department of Public Instruction.

“But kids were going without lunches in the Summer,” Savage said.

So, Savage said the farmers’ market is giving out meals in place of the schools over the Summer.

“If you’re under 18 and ask for it, you get it, no vetting,” he said.

So far, the farmers’ market has given out around a dozen meals this Summer.

“We feel like the people who got it were sincere,” he said.

The Downtown Cary Farmers’ Market is open Saturdays at 8 AM in front of the Ivey-Ellington House at 135 W Chatham St.

Story by Michael Papich. Photos by Hal Goodtree.