The Spring has ended and Summer Season is swiftly coming to an end. Spring and Summer are growing seasons for fresh fruits and vegetables. It is the time that we can eat seasonal fruits and vegetables straight from the farmer. In season fruits and vegetables have the stuff we need to live healthy lives. The Church feels that it is important to show the love of Jesus and to be of service to our community. The Farmer’s Market is a wonderful opportunity to serve.
According to the U. S. government’s definition of a food desert, we are geographically located in a food desert. Food deserts are areas that have limited access to fresh and affordable healthy foods. A farmer’s market is an excellent opportunity to support the needs of the community and provide healthy food. In 2022, we supported three markets. In 2023, we were fortunate to be able to support four markets. Beltway Church of Christ celebrated its second year of supporting our community by hosting a local farmer, Shlagel Farms, and partnering with our neighbors and other agencies and organizations in our community.
There were a variety of customers ranging from young families to senior citizens buying food at the markets. Customers visiting the market were excited to be able to buy in-season fruits and veggies. Many customers arrived before the market was open. The market began at 10:00 a.m. and closed at 1:00 p.m. The farmer was sold out of fresh fruits and vegetables by 12:30 at the last two markets for the season. The number of attendees at each session ranged from 100 – 150.
Each Market Day offered the blessing of a service oriented, educational, and fun filled day. The Greater Baden Medical Services staff was present to register WIC participants and respond to questions. The University of Maryland Extension Service Nutrition Program was present to provide recipes, nutrition advice and educational activities for the children. The Judy Center was present to talk with parents about the benefits of their child’s reading and distributed free books to the children. [The mission of the Judy Center, located in Hillcrest Heights, is to provide comprehensive, integrated, full-day, full-year services that promote school readiness for children from birth through age five]. A representative of “Wellpoint” insurance was present to answer Medicaid and Medicare questions. Additionally, the Silver Hills Lions Foundation brought its van to conduct vision and hearing screening. As a result of the screenings, many attendees were helped and given glasses and referrals for assistance.
We thank God for the opportunity to serve and for providing the resources to support the Farmer’s Market to meet the needs of our neighbors:
Shlagel Farms of Waldorf
Greater Baden Medical Services
University of Maryland Extension Service – Nutrition (Clinton Office)
Silver Hills Lions Foundation
Submitted by Sis. Mae Johnson, Healthcare Ministry