New Roots, a Louisville nonprofit focused on food access and food equality, is making a move some may find surprising: starting a Fresh Stop Market in the East End.
“People are still struggling no matter where they live to access fresh fruits and vegetables, and it mostly has to do with cost and ease of accessibility,” said Karyn Moskowitz, executive director of New Roots. “There is still a lot of poverty in pockets of the East End.”
Fresh Stop Markets are opportunities for people to access fresh, regionally grown fruits and vegetables weekly at prices that are affordable to them. They offer sliding-scale payment based on a person’s ability to pay; the idea is that people who have more money will cover those who can’t pay full value for the food.
New Roots announced that — in coordination with the Jewish Community Center — it is working to start a weekly Fresh Stop Market under a pavilion next to the center’s community garden off Dutchmans Lane.
The nonprofit hopes to host its first Gendler Grapevine Fresh Stop Market from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 7, and every subsequent Wednesday following that. Moskowitz said the day and time works well because families can stop by before dropping children at Hebrew school, youth group or Bible study, which are commonly held on Wednesdays.
Unlike the other nine Fresh Stop Markets, the East End market will feature a broader sliding-scale payment system. Rather than topping out at $25, those who can afford to pay more will be allowed to give however much they want for their weekly order of fresh fruits and vegetables. The money collected each week will help all 10 Fresh Stop Markets.
“We are going to leverage the power of high-income families,” Moskowitz said.
Helping spearhead the effort is Michael Fraade, the Jewish Community Center’s new JOFEE (Jewish Outdoor, Food, and Environmental Education) Fellow. He is one of only 17 fellows in the United States, and Jewish environmental nonprofit Hazon supports the fellowship. New Roots also received a $10,000 grant from the New York-based Gendler Grapevine Foundation, founded by Rabbi Everett Gendler.
“We’ve been talking about this for years, and we just never had the resources,” Moskowitz said. “This is a huge deal.”
Moskowitz added that New Roots still needs additional funding to start and sustain the new Fresh Stop Market; it is participating in this year’s Give Local Louisville in September.
The nonprofit also is looking for 15 volunteers to organize the Fresh Stop Market. Duties include deciding what food to order, finding chefs to come to the market, and writing the Fresh Stop newsletter.
“This is the community food system,” she said. “We don’t want to make the decision for the community.”