FARMERS’ MARKET HEALTH INITIATIVE MAKES PROGRESS

 

A major initiative to promote health and nutrition for families with limited resources is off to a promising start.  The Greater Danbury Farmers’ Market Community Collaborative (DFMCC) launched the effort on July 9 with the intention of promoting healthy lifestyles and expanding opportunities for households of limited means to obtain fresh foods produced by local farmers.  A host of community leaders attended the program’s kick-off, including Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, a representative of Congressman Christopher Murphy and Fairfield County Community Foundation Vice President Karen Brown.

 

The collaborative is composed of more than twenty local private, public and non-profit organizations dedicated to expanding utilization of the Danbury Farmers’ Market, encouraging access to fresh foods by all members of the community and enhancing health promotion efforts to prevent chronic diseases such as obesity and diabetes.  The program combines funding to enhance the purchase of healthy foods by recipients of local, state and Federal food assistance along with provision of nutrition education and health screening services.

 

Danbury Housing Partnership Social Services Chair Denise Valeri lauded the efforts of the collaborative stating:  “We are excited to be part of this community-wide effort that provides economic support for our local farmers while addressing serious social and health needs in the community.  The availability of healthy foods and education about proper nutrition is essential to addressing the chronic health needs of lower-income families in our community.” 

 

Ms. Valeri praised City Center Executive Director Andrea Gartner for her leadership of this effort to expand access to the Farmer’s Market.  Valeri also acknowledged the guidance provided by nutritionist Peggy Zamore as being an essential element of the program’s success.  Valeri also noted the support of the initiatives financial sponsors:  Fairfield County Community Foundation, the Housing Authority of the City of Danbury and the Danbury Housing Partnership.

 

The market is open every Friday from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm from July 9 through October 29, 2010 in Kennedy Park at the corner of Main Street and Kennedy Avenue in downtown Danbury. 

 

The program builds on a successful pilot program developed in 2009 in response to a large increase in demand for food benefits in the Danbury area and increasing concern about the need to address health issues associated with diabetes and childhood obesity.  Additional financial benefits offered under the program will increase the ability of customers in need to purchase fresh foods at the Danbury market.  Complementing this effort will be food education, healthy cooking demonstrations, health screenings, fitness and wellness activities and a variety of arts and cultural experiences designed to promote a healthy and active lifestyle.  

 

Ms. Valeri applauded the community spirit exhibited by the collaborative members:  “This innovative initiative provides an economic boost to our downtown while addressing the nutritional and health needs of vulnerable populations in our community as called for in Danbury’s Ten-Year Plan to End Homelessness.”  Ms. Valeri singled out Partnership Chairman Mark J. Nolan for his support of the effort.  Ms. Valeri also praised the efforts of Executive Director M. Carolyn Sistrunk as well as Board Chairman Domenico Chieffalo of the Housing Authority of the City of Danbury for their support of the program.

 

The Fairfield County Community Foundation (FCCF) is the major financial contributor to the project, with additional funding coming from the Danbury Housing Partnership and the Housing Authority of the City of Danbury.    FCCF is a non-profit organization that facilitates charitable gift giving and distributes grant funds to address identified community needs throughout Fairfield County.  The foundation distributed more than 9 million dollars in grant funds in fiscal year 2009.  In addition to directing funds to address major regional issues, FCCF also manages “donor-directed” funds which facilitate distribution of funds to organizations and projects matching the donor’s interest, as in the case of the Danbury Farmers’ Market Community Collaborative proposal.  

 

Further information regarding activities connected with the Danbury Farmers’ Market will be posted on the CityCenter Danbury website at www.citycenterdanbury.org.   For more information please call the CityCenter Danbury office at 203-792-1711.

 

For more information on CityCenter Danbury and the Danbury Farmers’ Market please visit www.citycenterdanbury.org or call Managing Director Andrea Gartner at 203-792-1711.

 

For more information on the Danbury Housing Partnership please visit www.danburyhousingpartnership.org or call Chairman Mark Nolan at 203-797-8255.

 

For more information on the Fairfield County Community Foundation please visit www.fccfoundation.org or call Vice President of Programs Karen Brown at 203-750-3200.

 

For more information on the Housing Authority of the City of Danbury please visit www.hacdct.org or call Executive Director Carolyn Sistrunk at 203-744-4500.