“Our goal is to have enough fresh food for everyone, and as little waste as possible” – Ian Wright from Backyard Harvest
With the wonderful and much-needed rainshowers on Wednesday, they aren’t usually promising of market day success, but things cleared up for a partly sunny afternoon. It was a lovely walk down to the season’s first Pullman Farmer’s Market with vendors and customers enjoying the lovely spring flowers and plants, veggies, bread, lotions and plenty of other good stuff.
I enjoyed picking up our first CSA share of the season from Omache farms – it was lovely! Filled with spinach, lettuce, arugula, radish, spring red onion and spring garlic it is a perfect fit to pair with the versatile salad dressing that I made in preparation for them.
I had a chance to chat with Ian Wright of Backyard Harvest and Pullman Market Intern Katie Lundi about how they are working with both customers and farmers to achieve their vision of overcoming barriers to fresh food access and reducing food waste.
At their booth, these guys will take EBT/SNAP/Food Stamp benefits and turn them into tokens for the farmer’s market. They even provide a $10 match. Beneficiaries then get to enjoy spending the tokens on the fresh produce of their choice. At the end of the market, the farmers can take their tokens to Backyard Harvest and exchange them for cash. At that time, vendors can also choose to donate any surplus produce, that will be made available to low-income families and older adults of the Moscow, Pullman and Lewiston areas.
According to Ian, any donations really benefit Backyard Harvest and the market vendors donate generously as available. Throughout the summer and fall, many Palouse homeowners with fruit trees in their backyards, work with Backyard Harvest to collect the fruit to distribute to the people they serve. Even community churches, like the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Palouse, work with Backyard Harvest to help them provide food access to those who really need it.
I really enjoyed my visit with Ian and Katie. It sounds like they will be at all of the Farmer’s Markets in Moscow, Pullman and Lewiston this season. Stop by to ask about volunteer and donation opportunities or just let them know you appreciate their efforts – keep up the good work guys!
With Gratitude- especially to Shane McFarland for always helping to clean up the mess I make!