Billy Mawhiney, Fresh Mitchell
My partner and I packed up our Park Slope apartment and moved to the Midwest last December (not the best time to move to South Dakota) in an attempt to change the world! Ok a little dramatic, but the idea is there. I immediately began searching for farmers markets and, well, farms; we are in the Midwest. The outcome is now Fresh Mitchell. A group aimed at changing the way rural Mitchell eats. We began marketing our Farmers Market, we got accepted for SNAP and credit cards, we began a CSA through a 5th generation farm about 30 miles away called the Goosemobile (www.sdgoosemobile.com). This fall we will host our first Fall Harvest Celebration, a night of Old Fashioned fireside stories from the South Dakota food movement to raise funds for an edible classroom, demo area for the market and CSA support.
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We now have a thriving market that has increased its vendor list by 300%. We accept SNAP & Credit cards for the first time. We have a CSA program for the residents of Mitchell and next spring will be teaching an Edible Classroom with the intention of getting a farm to school program by the beginning of fall 2012. We have created an environment, albeit smaller in scale but large in magnitude of getting fresh, nutrient-rich food into a community that is desperately in need of a “food makeover”.
(November 2011 update) On October 21 we held our first annual Fall Harvest Celebration Dinner, raising over $1700 for the Edible Classroom we will begin Spring 2012. The dinner was in honor of a great summer and we were able to spotlight three local farms who were heavily involved in our success: The Goosemobile, Hanisch Farms (both a CSA) and Muddy Pumpkin Farm (an instrument in the Market and our Edible Classroom). We had such a great response from the community we have added additional classrooms and resources such as Kitchen Kids: a cooking from scratch learning environment in partnership with the James Valley Community Center, that teaches cooking confidence in our future generation (our January session is already full!).
The Potluck Club: a monthly cookbook club targeting single Seniors but open to anyone where you bring a fully prepared dish out of the chosen book of the month along with take home containers; sharing the meal and fellowship around the table at the same time cutting the cost of meals for those on fixed income.
Mom’s Night Off: a reverse potluck party where you provide the friends and we bring the supplies to partake in adult conversation in a kitchen frenzy. Instead of a traditional tupperware-norwex-scentsy-insertname event where you feel obligated to buy something, you go home with meals for the freezer, allowing more time for your family to spend around the table during the week.
All of these project align with our future goal of creating a Food Shed where the citizens, farmers and the community are all connected around the dinner table.