In an effort to increase engagement between refugee and immigrant populations and local farmers markets, funds from the Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP) were granted to Project FINE to develop a brochure with information about farmers markets and create a guide of unique produce found at area markets.
Project FINE is a local non-profit that helps newcomers integrate into the community.
The brochure included reasons to shop at a farmers market and the three market locations in Winona County. The brochure was translated into Spanish and Hmong and distributed to 120 families through home visits and outreach at local farmers markets and community events.
The produce guide focused on unfamiliar vegetables that are commonly sold by diverse growers. Titled “How Do I Cook That? A Guide to Unique Produce at the Farmers Market,” the guide highlights eight different items that are often sold at the market, including bitter melon, Thai basil, opo squash and Chinese eggplant. Each has a description of the taste, uses and what to look for when purchasing the produce, as well as a recipe.
The guide was translated into Spanish and Hmong and distributed to local farmers markets. Guides were also distributed to 70 refugee and immigrant families via home visits and community events.
The produce guide is spreading to other counties as well. SHIP partner Ramsey County intends to share the guide with market managers from its Farmers Market Collaborative, as well as WIC staff to provide to families when also issuing farmers market vouchers.