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From farm to fork for First Ward neighbors food initiative
Uptown Farmers Market tackles insecurity
Published Sunday, June 7, 2020 12:48 pm
by Ashley Mahoney | The Charlotte Post

Uptown Farmers Market Community Table initiative to get locally-grown produce to food-insecure families.

Uptown Farmers Market is feeding the community it serves.

The market launched its physical location last month at 300 S. Davidson St. in Uptown. It will run through Dec. 12 and includes a Community Table component. In May, First Ward families impacted economically by COVID-19 received fresh produce from four farms through the program.

Jan Johnson, who manages the market along with Gloria Medlock and Marvette Monroe, is quick to point out the number of people involved in making the initiative a success.

“From the very beginning, the whole mission of the market was to support local farmers, to address nutrition and wellness, and to really address food insecurity,” Johnson said. “As we entered the COVID-19 environment, we had to pivot to say how can we further that in this kind of environment. We set up the Community Table Fund as a grassroots effort to address food insecurity. We have all of these farmers coming. What a perfect match to get that fresh produce out in the community where it’s needed.”

Keith Richardson of Charlotte Center City Partners reached out to the market to see if they could provide the produce for families. He was a liaison, connecting the market with Laura Peres from the First Ward Neighborhood Association, Chris Campbell who is the senior vice president of community partnerships with Inlivian—formerly known as the Charlotte Housing Authority—and Eleisha Brewster of Charlotte Center City Ambassadors. Peres organized the collection for the food drive. Campbell identified the families in need of assistance, and helped with distribution. Brewster and a team of Charlotte Ambassadors picked up produce at the market and delivered it to the collection site.

Richardson said the initiative serves as an extension of what Charlotte Center City Partners desire to help businesses and neighborhoods navigate COVID-19 hardships.

“We wanted to really see what we can do to mitigate the impact on folks who are really being economically challenged in some of our communities,” Richardson said. “I approached Laura Peres over at First Ward and Chris over at Inlivian, and they were like, ‘let’s do this!’ I talked to Jan and I knew what they were doing to address food insecurity. It really all just fell into place. I’m just the idea guy. We’re really fortunate to have these great relationships already in place.”

Uptown Farmers Market intends to continue to raise money through their Community Table Fund to increase access to fresh produce for Charlotte residents.


Informative and important story. Maybe a follow up to report on progress and give contact information for readers who want to help via the Community Table. Thank you
Posted on June 11, 2020
Great project. Even without COVID, Charlotte has way too many food deserts. Happy to see Trevor Fuller pushed for County funds to alleviate food desserts in Charlotte. And kudos to Inlivian's Chris Campbell.
Posted on June 9, 2020

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