Hillside Farmers Market to open June 19

With support from Essentia Health, the Hillside Farmers Market will provide fresh, healthful and affordable local foods in the Central Hillside neighborhood. The new market will operate every Tuesday from 3 to 6 p.m. from June 19 to Oct. 16.

The 2015 Bridge to Health Survey found that 41.6 percent of Central Hillside residents experience food insecurity, compared to the regional average of 20 percent. Additionally, the Bridge to Health Survey found that 19.3 percent of Central Hillside residents lack access to transportation for groceries, compared to the region average of 3 percent.

Thanks to Hunger Solutions Minnesota and Essentia Health, SNAP customers are matched one-to-one, up to $15 dollars per market day, when using an EBT card at the market. Any children under 18 receive free $4 tokens to spend on produce through the Power of Produce (PoP) Club, with funding from Essentia Health and University of Minnesota Extension.

The new Hillside Farmers Market will put the healthy option on a bus line and within walking distance of many hillside neighbors.

“The market will help connect our Nutrition Services department with local farmers leading to partnerships that will allow our department to serve more local foods to our customers and patients,” said Chad Nurminen, who manages environmental and nutrition services at Essentia. “There will be chef demonstrations the first Tuesday of the month, beginning on July 3, that will showcase items developed by our talented culinary team.”

An opening day celebration from 3 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 19 will include free food, children’s activities and a bike blender, which is a blender attached to a stationary bike to promote healthy exercise while making smoothies. Local vendors will be selling fresh produce, seedling transplants, bread, baked goods, canned goods, meat and more.

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