Featured Programs & Activities
Mount Vernon: Expanding Access to Healthy Local Foods

The Mount Vernon Farmers' Market, Skagit County Healthy Communities Project, local farms, area hospitals, and other partners are all working to ensure that area residents have a range of convenient options for obtaining fresh, local foods.

Saturday Market: The Mount Vernon Farmers’ Market (MVFM) is held on Saturdays from the end of May through mid-October. The Saturday market features local farmers and food producers, cooking demos, nutrition education, and activities for children. The market also provides an outreach opportunity for the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) and the Basic Food programs. Basic Food Quest cards are accepted and clients use market tokens to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables. Experience in Mount Vernon has also shown that issuing farmers’ market coupons to WIC clients at the market rather than at clinics increases coupon utilization. MVFM partners with the local business community to highlight seasonal produce by moving the market to the city's Fall Festival for one Saturday each September. MVFM is also working with the City of Mount Vernon to include the popular farmers’ market in redevelopment plans for downtown and the waterfront walkway.

Midweek Market: In 2006, a partnership of the MVFM and Skagit Valley Hospital, with support of a W. J. Kellogg Foundation People for Public Spaces grant led to launching a smaller midweek farmers’ market at Skagit Valley Hospital on Wednesday afternoons. The mid-week Farmers’ Market is popular among hospital staff and visitors, local neighbors and others from around town who seek out a mid-week dose of freshly picked fruits and veggies.

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) "Farm Box" Program: In 2008, Skagit Valley Hospital began offering a CSA box program in partnership with the local Hedlin Farms. The CSA program was promoted to hospital employees and the community at large. Subscribers pre-purchase and then pick up shares of farm fresh produce at the hospital or farmers' market each week from June and through September. The Skagit County Healthy Communities Project assisted in expanding the successful program to United General Hospital in 2009.

Partners

Mount Vernon Farmers Market, Skagit Valley Hospital/Skagit County Healthy Communities Project, Skagit County Community Action Agency, Children's Museum of Skagit County, Skagit Valley Food Co-op, Friends of Skagit County, Slow Food Skagit River Salish Sea, Burlington Little School, City of Mount Vernon, Mount Vernon City Library, and Washington State University Extension.

Evaluation

There was a 20% increase in sales at the MVFM in 2008. Ongoing evaluation includes monitoring sales, customer counts, as well as EBT and voucher use and sales. In 2008 $16,000 in WIC coupons worth 85% were redeemed at MVFM.

Target Audience

Community residents

Scope

Mount Vernon

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