East Boston Neighborhood Health Center
The East Boston Neighborhood Health Center (EBNHC) will utilize funds awarded by the Massachusetts Food Trust Program to continue support for its local farmers’ market. Since 2008, the East Boston Farmers’ Market (EBFM) has been an outlet for the Health Center to increase food access and combat food insecurity for patients and their families. The census tract where the market is located is classified as a very-low-income community, with over 37% of residents living below the poverty line.
In addition to the varying socioeconomic status within the region, the East Boston community has a population which also varies in terms of race, country of origin, and native language. The neighborhood’s Latinx population (52.9%) is the highest in all of Boston. Just over fifty percent of the population is foreign born, and thirty percent of households are limited-English-speaking. Furthermore, because 67% of the market’s customers are primarily Spanish-speaking, the East Boston Farmers’ Market is intentional about offering foods that are both affordable and culturally appropriate, including a diverse range of ethnic and cultural produce.
The farmers’ market is a hub intended to increase access to healthy food, provide nutrition and health education, and connect community to local services and resources. The Health Center supports new, small businesses through the market, and has cultivated a 70% majority of women and minority-owned businesses in the market’s eleven years of operation. It is East Boston’s only farmers’ market and is one of the only grocery retail options in the area that offers affordable price points for its low-income residents.
The EBNHC is comprised of a team that has over thirty years of combined experience running healthy food programming in East Boston, including a Fair Foods $2-a-Bag distribution site, an American Red Cross Mobile Food Pantry, and a subsidized Community Support Agriculture farm share program. Additionally, since they began to oversee the East Boston Farmers’ Market, it has one of the highest SNAP/WIC redemption rates out of all Boston farmers market.
The MFTP congratulates EBNHC on all it has done for East Boston, and we cannot wait to contribute to its continued success!
Images provided by Gabrielle Witham, East Boston Neighborhood Health Center