Donation Station at the Murphy Farmers Market
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MURPHY, N.C. – The N.C. Cooperative Extension – Cherokee County Center launched a Donation Station program at Murphy Farmers Market as a way for the community to engage in supporting local food and food security efforts. According to the USDA, in 2018, North Carolina’s food insecurity rate was 13.9%, making us one of only twelve states in the country with a rate higher than the national average of 11.1%. For Cherokee County, the rate is 14.7%, meaning that 14.7% of the population doesn’t have consistent, dependable access to enough food for active, healthy living. The Donation Station program is a joint program by N.C. Cooperative Extension and Farmer Foodshare that seeks to improve access to fresh, locally-grown food while supporting the farmers who grow it.
The Donation Station program began at the Murphy Farmers Market on July 8, and will occur once monthly the 2023 season (see schedule below). Farmers’ market shoppers will be able to purchase fresh produce from farmers and vendors, and then donate it at a volunteer-run Donation Station table. Shoppers can also offer a monetary donation, which will then be used to purchase fresh produce from farmers at the market at full value. At the end of each market, the donated produce will be given to Cherokee County Food Pantries on the same day to serve their clients.
Family & Consumer Science Agent, Marlana Baker, is leading this effort and she reports “The first Donation Station was successful. With many community members donating, we were able to supply the Bellview Community Food Distribution Program with a variety of produce, breads, microgreens, and other food items. By partnering with the Murphy Farmers Market and our community, we will be able to offer fruits, vegetables and other nutritious foods to those who might not otherwise have access to this type of food. Our efforts also support local farmers, who receive asking prices for their products, which helps to support our local food economy.”
Community members are also encouraged to volunteer with the program. We hope to have enough volunteers to host the Donation Station weekly in 2024. Just stop by the Donation Station table or call Extension Agent, Marlana Baker at (828)837-2210 ext.5 to learn more.