"Tune into heaven but keep feet on earth. [We must] pray with our feet and become God’s light in the world as active doers."
- Rabbi Everett Gendler
“'Doing' means working to obtain food justice for all."
- New Roots, Inc.
“Mommy, can you make those turnips again tonight. They were so good!” are words I never thought I’d hear from my ten year old daughter. The turnip was the one thing in our bag of fresh fruits and veggies that we had received at our first Fresh Stop Market that I had never prepared before (or ever thought I wanted to). Fortunately, every share comes with a list of recipes for each item I pick up every two weeks from the big room of tables loaded with fresh local produce at the Shawnee Presbyterian Church. The sign said, “take one turnip” so, dutifully, I did. Then, I chose what looked like the easiest, most kid friendly recipe...basically cut up a turnip and cook it in butter and salt...and the result was that my kids were asking for seconds!
That was their first introduction into the Fresh Stop Market experience. After a few months of picking up our share myself, I decided to start bringing them along with me. All the volunteers were so friendly towards them, commenting on Melody’s hair and asking Leah about how her school year got started. They felt instantly at home. Then, they discovered the samples! At every Fresh Stop Market there are volunteer chefs who create dishes out of the seasonal produce that is available for pick up. Not only did my kids chow down on yellow squash salad, stir fried okra, vegetable frittatas and lentil stew but, again, they asked for seconds! Sometimes, the volunteers will just leave out a bowl of raw cauliflower or cantaloupe and let the freshness of the local food “speak for itself.” Now, my kids will ask me, “Mom, is this a Fresh Stop week? Can I come with you?”
Now, we have collected and donated canned goods and other non-perishable items for food drives. Sure, it makes you feel good, like you’re making a difference to someone who is hungry and needs to eat something right now. Our experience at the Fresh Stop has been vastly different! We are all there together, picking up the same food. You can’t tell who is paying $25 for their bag of food and who is on SNAP Benefits (Food Stamps). Everyone is “shopping” together at what looks like any other farmer’s market where you see folks examining the zucchini, tapping the cantaloupe and choosing exactly the one they want. I overhear people swapping recipes and discussing their favorite methods for preparing each vegetable. Another difference from donating to a food drive is that the food is dramatically healthier than anything you can find in a can or cardboard package. In fact, those foods are loaded with so much salt, preservatives and high fructose corn syrup that, sadly, 65 percent of individuals who get their food from food pantries and feeding programs suffer from diet-related illnesses. And, we are supporting local farmers by guaranteeing them the income through pre-ordered shares. It’s a win, win, WIN situation!
The New Roots organization has been so successful in our area and throughout Kentucky that they are opening another Fresh Stop Market right here in our own backyard on September 7! Please visit: http://www.newroots.org/store/c16/Gendler_Grapevine.html for more information.
B’teiavon! Eat in good health!
Cantor Sharon Hordes, Keneseth Israel Synagogue, Louisville, Kentucky
Shareholder, Shawnee Presbyterian Fresh Stop Market