Roots in the City Farmers Market Brings Fresh, Affordable Food to Overtown

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The Roots in the City Farmers Market in Overtown saw its busiest day yet during a dedication ceremony that included Miami Mayor Thomas Regalado and Commissioner Richard Dunn yesterday.

The Booker T. Washington High School band kept things lively as Overtown residents, Brickell and downtown workers on lunch breaks, government employees and others shopped at the market and stayed on for the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The market is a pilot for the Wholesome Wave "Nourishing Neighborhoods" program. This program will also double the value of food stamps -- or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) -- so garden users can afford fresh, local produce. Locally, Michael's Genuine Food & Drink, Roots in the City, and the Human Services Coalition are partners in the effort.

"We're happy to be able to bridge the gap between who want access to this wonderful product and the people who grow it," chef Michael Schwartz said during the ceremony.

Participating farms include Bee Heaven Farm, Teena's Pride, Hani's Mediterranean Organics, and Roots in the City.

Wholesome Wave founders Michel Nischan and Gus Schumacher introduced

the Double Value Coupon Program to 12 markets in Connecticut,

California, and Massachusetts in 2008. Today it operates in 60 markets

in 12 states.

"Most farmers markets are only in affluent communities, yet the food

culture that really defines America is actually in communities like

Overtown," said Nischan.

"We knew these communities were here, we knew that there was a void of

food, really great food in these communities, we knew that the desire was

there but we also knew it wasn't an access issue ... it was an

affordability issue."

Miami's market -- which launched on March 24 -- is unique in that it is the first market created to

offer the program. Wholesome Wave has traditionally introduced its

program to already existing farmers markets.

Following the dedication, market-goers were treated to shrimp

Creole, collard greens, and bread pudding at the Michael's Genuine

vending cart. The shrimp Creole recipe was from the Booker T.

Washington High School Overtown Cookbook. Roots in the City founder

Marvin Dunn prepared the collard greens at Michael's Genuine kitchen.

The Roots in the City market runs until the end of April and will

resume in the fall. It is open to the public on Wednesdays from 1 to 4 p.m. at NW 2nd Avenue and 10th Street.

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