State Sen. Paul Doyle (D-Wethersfield) joined U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-3), Mayor Daniel Drew and members of the Middletown delegation on a tour of the recently.
The purpose of the tour was to educate the leaders about two important programs connected to the NEAT Farmers Market: A “Kids Market” program, where kids get to pick out fruits and vegetables to take home to their families and a “Double Dollars” program that lets people double the value of their federal assistance dollars when buying produce at the market.
“The Kids Market is a great way for our young people to learn how to make healthy food choices,” Doyle said. “It is a sad reality that junk food is often cheaper to buy than fresh fruits and vegetables at the grocery stores. This program not only exposes kids to fresh fruits and vegetables, it allows them to take a bundle of nutritious produce home to their families.
"This is just another example of how NEAT is making a positive impact in the community.”
Each child who participates in the Kids Market program receives $7 to spend on produce at the market. The kids do the shopping so they can learn about budgeting and healthy food choices, and try new kinds of fruits and vegetables, like eggplants and kale.
“We want our kids to discover how to make healthy food choices on their own,” said Izzi Greenberg, executive director of NEAT. She added that both the Kids Market and Double Dollars programs aim to increase access to nutritious fruits and vegetables for families that otherwise might not be able to afford fresh produce.
In addition to the North End Farmers Market, Sen. Doyle recently visited the Amazing Grace Food Pantry and the Connecticut Mobile Food Pantry truck at A.M.E. Zion Church to help raise awareness about hunger issues in Middletown.
NEAT is a grassroots organization that seeks to foster resident-driven leadership to assess problems, establish priorities and come up with solutions to neighborhood issues. The North End Farmers Market runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Friday at the corner of Main and Liberty streets.