by Mari Kate Mycek, Elise Jorgensen and Zandra Alford
As the 2014 mini-grant funding cycle comes to an end, we would like to take this time to thank our partnering organizations for increasing access to healthy and affordable foods and safe places to be active in Lee County. Over the next few months, we will conduct end of year site visits and post a brief summary of the work being done by each grant site. Today’s spotlight is on the Sanford Farmers’ Market and the Steven’s Center.
Sanford Farmers’ Market – Market Promotion and Expanded Payment Options (including SNAP, EBT, WIC, Senior Coupons, and Farmers’ Market Coupons)
The Sanford Farmers’ Market, run by Carol Hargrove and Alvin Bean, is open every Saturday morning from spring to fall at Depot Park in Downtown Sanford. The market gives local vendors the opportunity to sell produce, crafts, and other items. Best of all, it provides residents of Sanford and surrounding areas a chance to buy fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables. There is also a large assortment of local meats and cheeses. The market managers are working to make fresh, local produce available and affordable for everyone. With grants from Voices Into Action and the Health Department, they have increased advertising and changed the way that they do business. A variety of new signs draw customers in from the surrounding downtown area. They accept many forms of payment, including cash and credit, as well as SNAP and WIC vouchers.
The Sanford Farmers’ Market is more than just a place to buy delicious local food. It’s also a place to build community. You are sure to be greeted with a warm welcome and smile at each vendor you visit. Kids will love running under the life-sized water fountain, checking out the depot’s giant trains, and meeting the furry, leashed visitors. The market managers are planning to expand their activities for kids so be sure to be on the look out for more events and activities in the near future. You can find out more about the Sanford Farmers’ Market and keep up with the events that they’re planning by checking out their facebook page.
Steven’s Center – Park and Walking Trail
In an attempt to bring together members of the community who have disabilities with people who are not disabled, the Stevens Center, located in Sanford, NC has now added an outdoor activity space and walking trail to its already beautiful property. The center sits on a wooded landscape surrounded by lush greenery and has resources such as classrooms, a spacious gym with fun activities and equipment, a bocce ball court, and a picnic space all to promote physical activity. However, up until now, there hasn’t been as much outdoor space for people to be physically active. The Stevens Center’s members as well as any other community members can now spend these beautiful North Carolina days in the tranquil park located just outside the building, next to the picnic area. Right off of the park is also a walking trail that community members can utilize.
Roger Baily, the executive director of the Stevens Center, took us for a stroll on the lovely walking trial and emphasized his vision to keep the space as natural as possible. Roger clearly cares about people and nature and believes that it is important to stay connected to our natural surroundings. The Stevens Center is working on promoting physical activity with this new space as well as policies that encourage people to get moving and would love to get the community involved as much as possible. This year the Steven’s Center’s Connections Program is growing a vegetable garden, a project that is being assisted by the Voices into Action mini-grant program. Roger would love to get a flower garden going as well and is looking for sponsors and volunteers to help continue to make his vision for the center a reality. If interested you can contact Roger at the Steven’s Center, (919) 776-4048. The Steven’s Center is located at 1576 Kelly Drive, Sanford, NC. Come experience their park and walking trail, or visit them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/StevensCenter.