So many food banks and senior housing sites graciously worked with us (on very short notice!) to distribute fresh produce bags to seniors that they serve through the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (Senior FMNP)
We were able to deliver produce bags for seniors throughout the Valley by teaming up with:
St. Mary’s Food Bank in Surprise
Desert Mission Food Bank in north Phoenix
Justa Center in central Phoenix
Nourish PHX (formerly ICM Food & Clothing Bank) in central Phoenix
Azcend Community based in Chandler
Mercy Housing sites in Gilbert, Mesa, Glendale, and Guadalupe
We simply could not have served 1400 seniors without the dedication of so many individuals behind the scenes. From the Mercy Care Resident Services Coordinators, to the food bank directors, to everyone who helped unpack hundreds of bags from our van, many souls came together to provide delicious vegetable bags for our senior neighbors. #AZFMNP
Blue Sky Organic Farms is a diverse, family-run organic farm growing 120 crops in Litchfield Park in the West Valley of Phoenix. Led by David Vose and Sara Dolan, the farm grows year-round in the challenging Phoenix climate.
We were grateful to add their sturdy+tasty green kale, purple kale, and Swiss chard to senior FMNP produce bags, and it got rave reviews! We also want to thank David and Sara for their efforts to protect farmland, and encourage folks to sign up for important updates on farmland access in Maricopa County here: https://www.goodfoodfinderaz.com/save-farmland
You can find Blue Sky’s produce for sale at their farm store (4762 N 189th Avenue, Litchfield Park,85340) on Weds/Thurs/Fri 12-5pm or Saturdays 9am-3pm
Downtown Phoenix Farmers Market
RoadRunner Park Farmers' Market
Old Town Scottsdale Farmers Market
Uptown Farmers Market on Wednesday
Gilbert Farmers Market
They also offer Double Up Food Bucks Arizona at the farm store, and participate actively in Sun Produce Co-op. Be sure to follow them on Facebook and Instagram for fresh, organic produce updates.
Thank you Sara, David, and team!
Maria and Cristian Reyes recently started Reyes Farm on their land in Paulden. Their family is steeped in farming traditions — Maria’s father and mother, Ruben and Maria Hernandez, are steadfast produce and tamale vendors at farmers markets in Northern Arizona. They have enjoyed continuing to interact with their farmers market customers and offering new and unique products such as lemon cucumbers, tatsoi, and tiger melons.
We enjoyed being able to tuck their cherry tomatoes, peppers, and greens varieties into seniors’ produce bags. We’re grateful to Maria and Cristian for their support and trust as we both gain experience in the wholesale arena.
You can find their fresh produce at the Prescott Farmers Market (winter hours Sat. 10am-1pm), Sedona Community Farmers Market et (winter hours Sun. 12-4pm), and Flagstaff Farmers Market.
Sun Produce Co-op was started in 2017 to increase the viability of small-scale growers in Arizona and has now grown to be a network of 25+ farms, distributors, and buyers across 6 counties that together strengthen our local food system. By combining multiple farmers' product volume and variety—as well as resources and expertise—SPC saves growers time and money, and ultimately keeps them on their land.
SPC collaborated directly with Nourish PHX, formerly ICM Food & Clothing Bank to pack and distribute growers’ produce to senior CSFP participants. Cooperative growers who contributed to the seniors’ bags include Crooked Sky Farms, Blue Sky Organic Farms, Briggs and Eggers, Whipstone Farm, and RhibaFarms; a full list of SPC farms can be found on their website.
We’re so thankful that SPC and Nourish Phoenix could assist us with the logistics of moving hundreds of pounds of fresh produce, and hope that you support them on social media. Institutional, wholesale, and retail buyers, as well as restaurants and individuals looking for farm-fresh produce, should consider an SPC delivery!
Visit sunproducecoop.org for more information.
Whipstone Farm is a family faarm in Paulden, AZ owned and operated by Shanti and Cory Rade. Alongside their hardworking team, the Rades grow over 100 unique vegetables and flowers on their 15-acre farm. They are kind stewards of the land, choosing not to use any synthetic fertilizers or chemical pesticides. We bought 23 different veggies from Whipstone Farm, from bok choy to winter squash -- all of which were enjoyed by the Senior #FMNP recipients! #AZFMNP We’re grateful they were able to supply such a strong variety of products for us on such short notice.
You can buy their produce:
1. At their farm stand on-site (self-serve open daily, on the honor system)
2. Subscribe to their CSA
3. Purchase weekly on Saturdays at Prescott Farmers Market., winter hours 10am-1pm.
4. Their products are available through Sun Produce Co-op for buyers in central/southern Arizona.
Support Whipstone Farm by visiting www.whipstone.com for more information and follow their Facebook page at Whipstone Farm and on Instagram @whipstonefarm
Shanti also writes a weekly email newsletter that is informative and honest about farm life - you can sign up for it on their website, check it out!
Based in Paulden, Juan Aguiar Bravo and Keeton Aguiar established Blooming Reed Farm in 2019, continuing in their family’s deep farming traditions (Juan is the son of Fernando Aguiar, featured later this month). They proudly use sustainable and no-till practices on their land to grow vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers.
We especially loved adding this farm’s hearty root vegetables to the senior’s produce bags: sunchokes, parsnips, beets, and carrots!
Support Blooming Reed Farm this winter by following them on Facebook and Instagram, @bloomingreedfarm and buying their goodies at the Prescott Farmers Market on Saturdays, winter market hours 10am-1pm. Their produce is also available through Sun Produce Co-op for buyers in central/southern Arizona.
We trust them. We like them. We buy from them. You should too.
Every Tuesday and Friday this December, we will feature all of the local farms and farmer cooperatives around Arizona who helped us deliver $36,000 worth of fresh, high-quality produce to over 1,200 seniors in need through the AZ Farmers Market Nutrition Program (AZFMNP). This special series is our way of showcasing and thanking them, so be sure to share and give them a follow!
INNOVATION: Bulk purchasing was a new component of the AZFMNP program this year. Previously in Arizona, $30 worth of farmers market checks or coupons were offered to eligible seniors who participate in CSFP, a monthly commodity food box offered by local food banks. Amid the uncertainty of COVID-19, we had to make a quick change in our coupon model. We decided to bulk-purchase and deliver thousands of pounds of fresh produce directly to food banks and senior housing sites.
This adaptation ensured that seniors unable to attend farmers markets were still able to receive fresh produce from their local farmers. It was impactful to support farmers across the state during October and November, which are typically leaner, transitional months as summer crops wind down due to frost and changing seasons, and winter crops begin to mature.
We trust these farms and are so grateful for their partnership and their hard work. We buy from them, and you should too!
Thanks for following along!#azfmnp
Fernando, Margarita, Blanca, and the Aguiar family grow a large variety of crops year-round and chemical-free on their beautiful, lush farmstead in Paulden. The Aguiars of Aguiar Farms are a multi-generational family with immense farming knowledge, work ethic, and big hearts.
We’re thankful that they were able to provide storage friendly staples such as onions, potatoes, and winter squash for Senior FMNP participants.
You can find their produce weekly on Saturdays at Prescott Farmers Market (winter hours 10am-1pm) and in the summertime at the Flagstaff Community Market. Local folks can order fresh produce and dried herbs through their online shop for farm pickup or no-contact delivery.
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