‘Per­fect syn­ergy’

In year 2, Par­ramore Farm­ers Mar­ket boosted by new lo­ca­tion at De­part­ment of Health, to be run by youths The Par­ramore Farm­ers Mar­ket is back for a second year, bring­ing fresh, healthy pro­duce to the neigh­bor­hood west of down­town, la­beled a food desert by

Orlando Sentinel (Sunday) - - LOCAL & STATE - By Ryan Gille­spie | Or­lando Sen­tinel

The city inked a deal last month with the Florida De­part­ment of Health to move the mar­ket to the agency’s Cen­tral Boule­vard park­ing lot. With it comes a larger venue shaded by span­ning oaks, as well as pic­nic ta­bles, class­room space and other new ameni­ties.

“When you look at other farm­ers mar­kets, they’re usu­ally in an open area where you can run into them,” said Chris Cas­tro, Or­lando di­rec­tor of sus­tain­abil­ity and re­silience. “This place is ex­tremely shaded … there’s also an en­tire mini­park­ing lot that is spe­cific to food trucks.”

The weekly mar­ket re­turns Satur­day, Jan. 26, and runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

In its in­au­gu­ral year, the mar­ket ceased op­er­a­tions in July due to the heat and lack of cov­ered areas out­side of Or­lando City Sta­dium, Cas­tro said. With the shade at the new lo­ca­tion, he said the mar­ket will run year round.

Or­lando re­cently hired Jemmy Bar­rera to co­or­di­nate the mar­ket. She’ll also men­tor youths from the Par­ramore Kidz Zone, who will run the mar­ket. In a grant ap­pli­ca­tion to Or­lando Health, city of­fi­cials said it would be­come the na­tion’s first farm­ers mar­ket run by youths.

“We want the youth to be in­volved in the Par­ramore com­mu­nity,” Bar­rera said. “We want the farm­ers mar­ket to be an area where we can cul­ti­vate that.”

Through PKZ, stu­dents already re­ceive a cur­ricu­lum teach­ing busi­ness skills, in­clud­ing mar­ket­ing and bud­gets. The program’s youth en­trepreneur­ship arm spawned Black Bee Honey in 2017, which ap­peared on Steve Har­vey’s TV show last year.

The pop­u­lar honey also will be avail­able at the mar­ket.

Justin David John­son, who runs a gar­den­ing program for stu­dents at nearby Or­ange Cen­ter Ele­men­tary School, said there’s de­mand in the neigh­bor­hood for fresh foods.

“In this area, peo­ple are in­ter­ested in sus­tain­able, healthy al­ter­na­tives,” John­son said. “Peo­ple want to eat healthy.”

He said stu­dents will of­ten

peel off a fresh mint leaf from the school’s crop and chew it like a piece of sug­ary bub­ble gum. Their re­ac­tion is of­ten sur­prise when it tastes largely the same. Teach­ers and staff at the school are fans of the kale and Ge­or­gia col­lards he grows with help of stu­dents.

To get them to at­tend the mar­ket, John­son said it could use more ad­ver­tis­ing in the neigh­bor­hood, John­son said, but the new lo­ca­tion could make it more ac­ces­si­ble for lo­cals.

This year, the mar­ket will at­tract food trucks as well, which was a pop­u­lar re­quest in sur­veys, Cas­tro said.

There will be a spe­cial park­ing area for them at the new site. Also, park­ing for cus­tomers will be free.

The De­part­ment of Health park­ing is on Cen­tral Boule­vard close to its for­mer site at Or­lando City Sta­dium.

Or­lando Health awarded the city an $11,795 grant for the mar­ket, help­ing ad­min­is­ter Sup­ple­men­tal Nu­tri­tion As­sis­tance Program ben­e­fits. The grant will fund one year of program costs and tar­get at least 150 house­holds in Par­ramore and sur­round­ing neigh­bor­hoods.

Low-in­come fam­i­lies who ben­e­fit from SNAP, also called food stamps, also can use “Fresh Ac­cess Bucks” at the mar­ket, which dou­bles the value of the stamps when spent on Florida agri­cul­ture prod­ucts.

The De­part­ment of Health will al­low class­room space for cook­ing and other demon­stra­tions, as well as mo­bile med­i­cal and den­tal trucks for peo­ple to get shots as well as med­i­cal check­ups.

Cas­tro said he was happy the De­part­ment of Health agreed to let the city use the space.

“They felt it was a per­fect syn­ergy,” he said. “It’s an area where you can have a healthy life­style and a com­mu­nity gath­er­ing.”

“In this area, peo­ple are in­ter­ested in sus­tain­able, healthy al­ter­na­tives. Peo­ple want to eat healthy.”

Justin David John­son, runs a gar­den­ing program at Or­ange Cen­ter Ele­men­tary School

RYAN GILLE­SPIE/OR­LANDO SEN­TINEL

The shaded park­ing lot of the Florida De­part­ment of Health off Cen­tral Boule­vard is where the Par­ramore Farm­ers Mar­ket will re­lo­cate.

JOE BUR­BANK/OR­LANDO SEN­TINEL

Through Par­ramore Kidz Zone, stu­dents re­ceive a cur­ricu­lum teach­ing busi­ness skills. The program’s youth en­trepreneur­ship arm spawned Black Bee Honey in 2017.

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