Fondy Food Center (Milwaukee)

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Fondy Food Center Logo

The Fondy Food Center is a farmers market on the urban Northside of Milwaukee. Along with some of their other programs, they aim to create healthier lifestyles for Milwaukee citizens through fresh food. In addition to their goal of creating healthier lifestyles, they also seek (add "to improve") the economic benefits for the farmers in which they partner with. Their main goal is to connect urban areas with fresh food that the may otherwise neglect, and at a good price so all can afford to eat in a healthy manner.


Recent History

The Fondy Food Center is one of the oldest farmers markets in Milwaukee, which started in 1917 and celebrated its centennial in 2017,(change "," to "." and change"and" to "It") and serves the Northside residents fresh and locally grown foods year round to ensure a healthy and sustainable life. [1] The FFC was started to bring food security to an area that was deemed a food insecure neighborhood, helping to provide fresh produce in an area where 89% of food vendors were either gas stations, convenience stores, or fast food restaurants. [2] FFC makes it their mission to serve fresh, locally grown, and affordable produce to the community, as well as providing prepared breakfast and lunch vendors as well. They are also the first farmers market to accept SNAP and EBT sales in Wisconsin, starting in 2015. Only .01% of SNAP/EBT vendors are farmers markets, making FFC a one of a kind. [3] Fondy Food Center also runs a variety of programs; their main farmers market runs from Spring to Fall, they have a winter farmers market too, and the Fondy Farm program.

Markets and Programs Offered

The Fondy Food Center is not only responsible for the Farmers Market, but a myriad of other programs that help people learn to eat, cook, and grow healthy foods and live in a more sustainable manner.

Fondy Farmers Market

The Fondy Farmers Market is Milwaukee's oldest market, and is the largest and most diverse in terms of the variety and quality of produce available. The Market runs from about the first week in May and always ends the weekend before Thanksgiving, in November. [4] The FFM also has 40+ vendors to ensure variance in products and flavors. FFM is held on 2200 W. Fond du Lac Avenue in Milwaukee, keeping(add "with) its long standing history in the North Side of the city, while creating a space with an abundant opportunity for vendors and shoppers alike, from all socioeconomic brackets: creating a wonderful blend and community in the market during the warm months. The FFM is well known across the country for being able to connect low income families with proper produce that is locally raised, separating FFM from the other food vendors in their area. This market also has weekly live music performances and other forms of entertainment, and a weekly live cooking show at the market called "Seasonal Soul," which features all local Wisconsin chefs cooking up cheap recipes all from seasonal ingredients. [5] This market is open Saturdays, Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursday until November, then in November it is only open on Saturdays. [6] Coupling the fact they have so many vendors, and 4 different days in the week where you can visit the market and buy produce, it provides community members with a fantastic avenue to explore healthier food options and pull away from genetically modified foods.

Fondy Market at Schlitz Park

In 2015, Fondy Food Center opened a second summer location for their farmers market due to increased popularity in Schlitz Park, a more centralized location. Though this market is much smaller, it offers the same variety of cheap, local produce as FFM, just on a smaller scale. This market also has a shorter season, running from July to October and is only on Tuesday's from 11am to 2pm. [7] Making this a great mid week option for those in the Milwaukee area to grab more fresh produce. There are considerably less vendors at this market, ranging from roughly 8-12 per week depending on the time of season, but still giving shoppers a great variety to find fresh food. [8] The Schlitz Park Market also offers some entertainment as musical acts may make an appearance on certain weeks, though they do not provide live cooking shows like they do at Fondy Farmers Market.

Milwaukee Winter Farmers Market

The Fondy Food Center also operates a winter farmers market, offering lots of the same produce as the summer time, and this runs from November to the end of March. [9] This was started 9 years ago on a much smaller scale, but adopted its current form about 5 years ago. This market is held in the Mitchell Park Domes, in the greenhouse annex, offering a perfect backdrop for a farmers market during the winter months. This market is set to incorporate the same values as the originals; cheap and local produce year round so people from all backgrounds can enjoy fresh food. There is also a variety of seasonal foods offered at this market that you don't see in the summer months, baked goods, jams, maple syrup, soups, apple cider, amongst others. [10] This market offers a wholesome 50 vendors on a weekly basis making it the same size as their summer market, yet again providing all shoppers with variety in their foods. [11] This market also helps promote small market farmers and innovative food vendors to be able to grow their product. This is far and away the biggest winter farmers market in Wisconsin, as Fondy continues to create large platforms to promote healthy food and living that other companies fail to do.

SNAP/EBT

Fondy is the only farmers market chain in Wisconsin that is also a SNAP/EBT vendor as well. SNAP is Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, while EBT is the Electronic Benefit Transfer, and both of these are ways for lower income families to be able to pay for food. Another way people describe SNAP is food stamps, which is a more commonly heard phrase. In 2016 alone, $67,000 in SNAP benefits were redeemed at Fondy, and $57,000 in 2015; in comparison to $4,000 a year at other farmers markets authorized to accept SNAP. [12] Fondy is offering a program this winter at their MWFM where if a SNAP member spends $20 of benefits on produce they will be able to then double their produce, that would be $40 worth of produce for the price of $20. [13] This is an example of their commitment to not only the environment and promoting healthy food, but also for their philosophy that healthy food should be affordable for all. In this current economic climate, organic food is often twice the price of GMO produce. This is not the case at Fondy, where buyers are able to buy real food at the best prices.

Fondy Farm

In 2010, many of Fondy's lower income Hmong farmers dropped out of the market due to increasing costs of running their respective farms. [14] To solve this issue, Fondy started their own farm, aptly named the Fondy Farm. The Fondy Farm leases out land and equipment to these lower income families so they will be able to continue growing their crop and selling produce at the farmers markets. [15] This farm is in Port Washington, Wisconsin and is home to many of Fondy's frequent vendors. They opened up an orchard in 2012 and a hops yard in 2013. The first beer ever brewed using Fondy hops was brewed in 2014. [16] Not only do they support the families economically with their leases, but this program also helps to promote small farms and increase their access to land. This project also gives the farmers the knowledge and tools to cultivate the land in a sustainable way so the families are able to pass down their farmlands to future generations. [17] The program teaches them techniques that are better for the soil which can also help them yield larger crops, and this not just stimulates Fondy's continuation, but these farmers livelihood as well, so it is a perfectly working cycle. This access to land is paramount to not just Fondy's existence, but these farmers as well, as these small farms are their jobs, and the markets are their way of growing their small businesses.

Milwaukee Farmers Market Coalition

Fondy is also the leader of the local Milwaukee branch of the Farmers Market Coalition, which is a national organization with the aim to promote healthy and affordable produce to families in lower income brackets, a philosophy that aligns with Fondy's. [18] Fondy is the leader of the Milwaukee branch and is an example for smaller markets like them to be able to help grow their markets and help them appeal to similar farmers and help them grow their businesses. [19] They meet bimonthly to discuss progress and ways they will be able to reach their target market of farmers and buyers. [20] Fondy also helps to get numerous markets across Wisconsin be able to support SNAP benefits at their local markets as well, aim to reach low income buyers all across the state, try to make affordable food easily accessible to all in Wisconsin. The national branch does a very similar function, making sure all the smaller ones follow a similar pathway that Fondy has of trying to grow this sustainable way of living, eating, and working to make the world a healthier place, while trying to save our precious land. [21]

References

  1. [1]Fondy Food Center
  2. [2]Ibid
  3. [3]Ibid
  4. [4]Ibid
  5. [5]Ibid
  6. [6]Ibid
  7. [7]Ibid
  8. [8]Ibid
  9. [9]MWFM
  10. [10]Ibid
  11. [11]Ibid
  12. [12]SNAP
  13. [13]SNAP
  14. [14]Fondy Food Center
  15. [15]Journal Sentinel
  16. [16]Fondy Food Center
  17. [17]Journal Sentinel
  18. [18]FMC
  19. [19]Fondy Food Center
  20. [20]Ibid
  21. [21]FMC

https://fondymarket.org/ http://www.mcwfm.org/ https://milwaukeenns.org/ https://www.jsonline.com/ https://farmersmarketcoalition.org/

Additional Published Resources

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  • Merchant, Carolyn. The Columbia Guide to American Environmental History. New York: Columbia University Press, 2002. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost), EBSCOhost (accessed November 24, 2015).
  • Ostergren, Robert C. and Thomas R. Vale. Wisconsin Land and Life. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1997. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost), EBSCOhost (accessed November 24, 2015).

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