Many Macon residents agree that fresh produce is a great thing to have, especially when it is conveniently located downtown on Mulberry Street.
The Mulberry Street Market strives to provide fresh food that is not pumped with preservatives and driven across the country in a truck. The market also aims towards providing goods to the public that are of high quality.
The Mulberry Street Market wants to support local farmers by bringing local farmers and consumers together and cutting out the middleman.
The Mulberry Street Market is run by Community Health Works (CHW), a non-profit organization dedicated to finding innovative health solutions and providing aid for people who are financially strained due to their medical needs.
The Mulberry Street Market is designed to give the consumer direct access to the farmers goods at discounted prices, as well as give the farmers a market to distribute their products.
The CHW was recently awarded a Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) grant in the amount of $87,165 from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
When asked about what the funds would be used for, Program Specialist for CHW, Chris Kiker explained that, “The money will fund salary, an extensive marketing campaign, food access work in low income communities, and the creation of an online market with weekly distribution days.”
Fred Ammons of CHW is pleased with the grant as well. He feels that it will be a great opportunity to expand their existing programs and seek out new forms of promotion. Their goal is to use the funds to promote the expansion of the Mulberry Street Market through an extensive marketing and educational campaign.
According to Kiker, CHW was eligible for the funds due to USDA releasing a request for proposals (RFP) centered on farmers market promotion. “Realizing the strengths and weaknesses of our market,” he explains, “we submitted a competitive application and was chosen among a large applicant pool.” Kiker, who has worked intimately with the farmer’s market over the past year, is pleased with the amount of funding they were approved for. Ammons adds that their application “had a specific emphasis on improving the access of low income, EBT/food stamp clients to healthy food in an attempt to help improve health in our area.” This is one of the fields he is happy to see improved with the funds.
Both agree that this will have a huge impact on the community. “The market is serving as a small business incubator for local farmers and producers,” Kiker says, explaining how they want to aid local farmers and businesses with the market. They plan to use the funds to expand the reach of their project. They are collaborating with local organizations to plan additional events for the market. According to Kiker, events they plan to host include, “from concerts to chef demos all centered on promoting and creating a healthier lifestyle for families in the Central Georgia area.”
That is CHW’s goal with this project in the end, to provide healthy and affordable produce for consumers. They are doing the best they can through the Mulberry Street Market, and these additional funds will ensure that they continue doing so.