Long-time readers of this blog will recognize this as an updated version of this post from last season—as you can see, all of last year’s market partners are back this year!
Our local farmers’ markets are either already open or opening soon for 2014, which means that Food For Free is back with our farmers’ market food rescue work, collecting fresh produce straight from the farmers, ten times a week, with the help of our trusty trucks, staff, and volunteers.
Our weekly pickup schedule:
Mon | The Greenway (formerly City Hall) (open 5/19) & Central Square (open 5/19)
Tue | Copley (open 5/13) & Harvard (opens 6/10)
Wed | The Greenway (formerly City Hall) (open 5/19); Kendall Square (opens in June); & Davis Square (open 5/21)
Thu | Belmont (open 6/12)
Fri | Copley (open 5/13)
Sat | Union Square (open 5/17)
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, though some also bring extra to donate.
The donated food stays fresh in the Food For Free cooler until the following day, when it is sent out to the recipient agencies on our daily delivery routes.
One day, these fresh, nutritious, delicious breads and produce were selling at farmers’ market prices. The next, they are being cooked and served at meal programs, given out at food pantries, or delivered to homebound seniors.
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 2014 Farmers’ Market season!