Mini-Market Opening on June 1st!

The Mini Farmer’s Market is not so “mini” anymore!  The market is expected to have 13 vendors at its opening on tomorrow, June 1st, 2011!  The Mini-Market is a collaborative effort between the Wayne County Health Department and the City of Goldsboro.  The market will be open from 9:30am-2:30pm each Wednesday through the fall and is located near the Herman Park Center at Herman and Pou Streets.

The Market Opening Day Celebration will feature fresh veggie songs by Dillard Academy Charter School along with fresh, local produce from your Goldsboro neighborhood farmers!


New Season, New Energy at the Freedom Farm

Meet Charles McNair, new grower at the Freedom Farm, formerly known as the Urban Farm, at Washington Park.  Check out his story below and stay tuned for more info on the growing community connections happening at the FREEDOM FARM!

Here is Charles’ story in his own words…

this is the Freedom Farm!

Grew up in a rural environment until attending college in 1988. While growing up we lived next door to our grandparents, who owned the land we lived on, as well as rented out other land they owned to local farmers who planted on a large scale. We raised our own pigs and chickens and planted, harvested, and stored the bulk of our own food, only having to purchase certain items for consumption. My grandfather and grandmother taught me about farming and agriculture from preparing the land for fertility, to breaking up the land, to planting, weeding, watering, harvesting, and storing (canning, freezing, drying ,etc). We grew butterbeans, greens, peas, corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes, etc. We also had fruit trees and plants such as strawberries, pears, apples, cherries, scuppernongs, purple grapes, plums, watermelon, cantaloupe, etc.

During the summer months, grandfather would come to the window to call my brother and I to awaken and get started to “water the collards” before it got hot. We also would pick cucumbers for money for our cousin, who was a large scale farmer. My grandparents also modeled and taught us about being good neighbors by sharing and/or trading what we had grown with our neighbors.

Graduated BA in Religious Studies with a minor in Anthropology from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1993. Trained grassroots organizer through the Childrens Defense Fund and Midwest Academy. Helped to open and establish Dillard Academy Charter School in 1998. Worked there until 2003 as an Executive Administrative Assistant. Returned to work at Dillard Academy in 2008 and was surprised to see the garden initiative and WFI. Being able bodied and young and experienced with agriculture, I jumped at the opportunity to start working with the earth again and teaching the youth what my grandparents taught me about the earth and proper respect for it and the value of working smart and working efficiently and when needed, working hard. When the opportunity came open for Washington Park, I was overexcited to have a larger, more independent project to throw my energies into while teaching grownups the value of organic and sustainable agriculture.

Kids day at the Farmers Market


Wayne County Public Library summer program kids at Health Department Farmers Market, July 2009

On Wed, a gaggle of students were running around at the farmers’ market in Goldsboro elbows deep in fresh fruits and vegetables.

While I was taking photos of the kids–who were interviewing farmers, taking photos of veggies, identifying parts of plants, and running a pretend farm stand of their own–I eve’s dropped, and heard astounding knowledge out of the mouths of babes: “That watermelon was just picked this morning but a grocery store watermelon could have been picked a week ago.  And they spray them with gas to make them ripe since they weren’t ripe yet when they picked them.  And here [at the farmers market] I get to talk right to the farmer who grew it.”  It was a sweet day.  See the full gallery of pictures of the event.

This event is keystone to what WFI is all about–connecting organizational efforts to create more opportunities for kids to access healthy, locally grown food.  CEFS has summer interns working on all aspects of the research farm, and one particularly who works with community groups in Goldsboro.  Laura Stroud coordinated the day by connecting two WFI partner’s good work.

Karen Padgett, with the County Health Department, organizes the Mini Mobile Farmer’s Market which works on two fronts: 1.) providing a market opportunity for local farmers to sell their produce and flowers while 2.) simultaneously making it simpler for employees at the health department, mothers and children clients on Wednesday, and ANY local residents to buy fresh, healthy, locally grown produce.

Shorlette Ammons-Stephens educates kids and provides hands on growing opportunities through her summer gardening program at the WCPL.

The Market is open every Wednesday mid-April through October from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Health Department parking lot on the corner of Lionel St. and Ash St.


CASTLES kids making chowchow

Usually the CASTLES “Seeds to Sales” kids are selling produce from their garden at the farmers market, but money is tight and they’ve not had enough support to make that happen this year.  They are growing, and making chow chow, but need money and volunteers to bring their program to it’s full potential!

Laura has also organized a fundraiser for the CASTLES K-4 gardening program.

Monday, July 27th,

from 11-2

at Pupetta’s Bar and Grill on Center St.

join us for lunch!! and support the good things that grow when you put children in a garden!

Pupetta’s will donate a portion of all proceeds to the CASTLES children’s current gardening and canning projects.