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Rosa Parks Farmers Market opens for business to address food accessibility in Charlotte

Updated: Jun. 16, 2021 at 12:03 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Rosa Parks Farmers Market in Historic West End opened for the season on Tuesday. About a dozen vendors showed up - some with fresh produce to offer people who live in food deserts healthy options.

It is estimated about 15 percent of the households in Mecklenburg live in a food desert.

The Rosa Parks Food Market is set up in the middle of a neighborhood that is in the middle of a food desert. This food market is not your typical one - vendors accept EBT and food stamps. Shoppers say this market will make a difference for neighbors.

“If you put a Farmer’s Markets in a food desert,” Shopper Elena Sepulveda said. “A lot of people can’t afford what they are selling, but this is very affordable and reasonable.”

Sepulveda was happy with what she got at the Market. She doesn’t live in a food desert but appreciates the prices.

“The first booth that I went to,” she said. “When they told me it was like four dollars for all the stuff that I bought - as far as Farmers Markets go - that’s amazing.”

County Health leaders say people living in food deserts can lead to problems such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. That’s why there is a push to keep this Farmers Market in business. It could be a game-changer.

“To the degree, we are able to consume clean local healthy food,” Mecklenburg County Health Educator Reggie Singleton said. “And active living - we’ll start to see many of the pre-existing conditions that put us at risk for needless sickness and death subsiding.”

The market will open from 3 p.m.-7 p.m. Tuesdays until September. The Rosa Parks Farmers Market has been around for about five years but this year it will be located in the 1600 block of West Trade Street. In years past, more than 1,000 people took advantage of the Market. Organizers have plans for the Market.

“What you are seeing is just the beginning,” Rosa Parks Farmers Market Manager Vivian Stuart said. “Because we are going to be adding educational lectures and other things to the market to educate the people on eating healthy and many other things that are needed in the community.”

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