The birds are chirping, the trees are blossoming, and that can mean only one thing—’tis the season for farmers’ markets! Did you know that Food For Free collects fresh produce from farmers’ markets ten times a week, starting in May (today, in fact!) and lasting through November?
Mon | City Hall (opens 5/20) & Central Square (opens 5/20)
Tue | Copley (opens 5/14) & Harvard Square (opens 6/11)
Wed | City Hall (opens 5/20); Kendall Square (opens 6/7); & Davis Square (opens 5/22)
Thu | Belmont (opens 6/13)
Fri | Copley (opens 5/14)
Sat | Union Square (opens 6/1)
How does it work?
The Food For Free team arrives at the end of the market day. For larger markets, a Food For Free staff member brings up to five volunteers and one of our trucks, while for smaller markets, we work with the awesome folks at Metro Pedal Power. We bring lots of empty banana boxes and stop by each of our partner farms and bakeries, and they decide what they’d like to put in our donation boxes—typically, anything that the vendor didn’t sell, but doesn’t want to cart back to the farm/bakery.
After collecting at the market, the team unloads donated foods into our cooler, which keeps it fresh until the following day, when it is sent out on our delivery routes. This means that fresh, nutritious, delicious breads and produce that were selling at farmers’ market prices one day are being cooked and served at meal programs, given out at food pantries, or delivered to homebound seniors the very next day.
An opportunity to give back
No market vendor is obligated to give—they do so by choice, and in whatever amount they are able.
“To many of these farmers and bakeries, we’re providing a service—they’re often very grateful because they don’t have an outlet for this food, and they hate to see it go to waste, or be used for compost or animal feed,” says Food For Free’s own Sasha Purpura, who does the Davis Square pickup each week. “Some vendors also see this as an opportunity to give back, and bring extra with the intention of donating.”
We’re immensely grateful to all of our partner farms and bakeries, as well as our year-round food donors, and we encourage you to support them in turn. Here’s to a great Farmers’ Market season!