By: Tonya Jackson
Every Saturday, from 9:00 am until 2:00 pm, The Palafox Market is open in the Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza, between Wright St. and Chase St. According to some, this is the best place in the city to find the freshest vegetables and fruit. The Palafox Market is also known as one of Pensacola’s premier locations for live plants, baked goods, art, and other vendor staples. This is also where you will find the international nonprofit, Slow Food. This past Saturday I met with two Slow Food volunteers to find out more about this innovative program.
Volunteer Amanda Salazar Clonts, “Slow Food Gulf Coast” was formed in 2012 to promote good, clean, fair food for all on the Gulf Coast. We desire to foster greater access to healthy, sustainable, and local foods through awareness, education, and support for our local producers. We’ve partnered with Florida Organic Growers to promote the Fresh Access Bucks Program (FAB) which is funded by the Farmers Market SNAP Support Grant (FMSSG). Fresh Access Bucks aims to increase access to and consumption of healthy, locally produced fruits and vegetables for low-income families. Visit our Slow Food Gulf Coast booth, look for the tent that says “EBT Accepted here” and swipe their SNAP card at our booth AND we’ll match up to $10.00 for fruits and veggies. Not only does FAB makes fresh, local produce more affordable and accessible it also supports Florida’s farmers and enhances our local economy. I think that this is one of the best programs we have locally to combat the issue we have food insecurity. I hope that we can expand the program in other parts of the Panhandle, specifically in food desert communities.”
Blaise Moehl, volunteer, added, “We just promote good, clean, fair food for the community. Using our program gives SNAP users access to the freshest food in the area, great prices, and the bonus of that additional match of up to $10 in fruits and vegetables. We really want to get the word out that this is really the best for SNAP users. We received a grant that allowed us to purchase a point of sale terminal that is cost prohibitive for most of the vendors here to buy. Using our program the vendors get paid and the SNAP user get bonus extra food.”
Clonts continued, “Come visit us at the Slow Food Gulf Coast booth! We are at the Palafox Market just south of the MLK Plaza every Saturday from 9:00 am – 2:00 pm.”