Lancaster nonprofit opens locally sourced farm market; hopes to combat food insecurity

Lancaster

Beets are of the vegetables that will be available at DECA’s early farmers markets.

LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) — Discerning Eye Community Agriculture is a Lancaster-based nonprofit working to combat food insecurity by expanding access to local fresh produce. In the next step toward this mission, DECA’s first pay-what-you-can farmers market opens this weekend.

The farmer’s market will offer locally grown seasonal produce, for which customers can pay nothing, pay the suggested price, or pay more than the suggested price to help purchase produce for someone else who is unable to pay, explains DECA’s founder and managing director Hawa Lassanah.

Customers can select individual vegetables or pick a pre-packaged bag. The market will also offer “go bags” of vegetables that don’t require any preparation for individuals who don’t have access to kitchens or cooking appliances.

DECA’s market has two goals, Lassanah says. First, it’s a proof of concept.

“It’s proof that we can grow and gather fruits and vegetables from farms within 30 miles and fulfill the food insecurity needs of Lancaster City,” Lassanah said.

Second, it shows that this concept can be brought to life with the community’s support, Lassanah explains.

“We have a number of community folks who have signed up to volunteer to either help with the farm, help with the market, help with whatever needs done, so it also shows the community has bought into this idea,” Lassanah said.

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The market’s produce is currently supplied by Sidetrack Farms, which is located in Mount Joy. Lassanah is also having conversations with the Lancaster Central Market about collecting its unsold produce and distributing it at DECA’s markets.

The farmers market will be located at Huber’s West End Market, and it will be open on Sundays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Revenue from the market will be used to support DECA. The first market is this Sunday, July 11.

In the future, Lassanah hopes to help facilitate the creation of community garden farms all around Lancaster City. She hopes to have at least one large community garden farm in each quadrant of the city, each with an associated farmers market “serving the needs of the underserved.”

More information about DECA and its sister organizations can be found here.

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