Food deserts are often defined as communities that lack access to fresh fruit, vegetables, and other whole foods. Mattapan is often referred to as a food dessert due to a lack of grocery stores and healthy food providers with only one full service grocery store. However, the residents have other options to access food via liquor stores, gas stations, and pharmacies. Many of the residents of Mattapan are unaware of the resources that are available to them such as food pantries operated by two churches and Fair Foods biweekly visits on Blue Hill Avenue.
Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition is a grassroots organization operated by a core group of volunteers that is truly committed to improving the health and lifestyles of Mattapan Residents. MFFC main mission is to become “known as one of the healthiest communities in Boston, with easy access to affordable and healthy food. Our streets will be clean safe, walk-able, and, bike-able. Our residents of all ages and abilities will take regular advantage of the abundant and inviting play spaces and recreational opportunities.”
As part of the Let’s Get Healthy, Boston! initiative MFFC has devoted their time and efforts to ensure that residents of Mattapan make the MFFC farmers market their default choice for their fresh fruit and vegetables during the spring and summer months. This initiative worked closely with Brookwood Community Farm that has provided opportunities for Mattapan youth to learn about organic farming and marketing.
This summer marks the launch of the 10th grand opening of the farmer’s market. As part of the new season, MFFC has prioritized a few projects to be completed. The first is to better serve the community with more convenient locations, hours, and activities. MFFC also hoping to create a more vibrant market experience by implementing themed market days, such as “children’s day,” in collaboration with community organizations. Additionally, MFFC hopes to incorporate non-produce options and increase the number of non-produce vendors from zero to two. Lastly, MCCF hopes to increase the customer base that attends the farmers market. MCCF will target about 1000 mailings to home owners and known government benefits recipients while also working closely with Mattapan United, local restaurants, Nuestra Comunidad, and resident associations that MFFC has been working with to date.
By Elaine Zheng, LGHB! Intern