Danbury Farmers Market

Food and Nutrition Security in Fairfield County

Seniors Eating Well Program:

A community partnership between UConn Extension SNAP-Ed Food Security project, Elmwood Hall Senior Center, Danbury Farmers’ Market and Clatter Valley Farm provides a free produce box ($10 value) for seniors in need.  SNAP-Ed provides nutrition education materials following the Penn State Seniors Eating Well curriculum and includes a postcard with QR code that links to our UConn Extension YouTube channel community nutrition playlist.  The “Market on the Move” program was designed as a way to keep seniors safe during COVID-19 and as a way to continue to provide nutrition programming with the senior center closure. Social distancing, masks required, all participants remained in their vehicles and produce boxes/nutrition materials were placed in their passenger seat or trunk based on individual comfort level.  Senior Center staff coordinated with senior participants and distributed boxes on-site the day of, Danbury Farmers’ Market provided funding to support the produce, SNAP-Ed food security provided nutrition materials, recipes and a small incentive for each participant (ex: grilling tongs in July). Future programs are planned monthly throughout the Connecticut growing season, August, September and October 2020.


woman dressed as tomato car with UConn CAHNR Extension sign


Danbury Farmers’ Market YouTube:

SNAP-Ed has been a long standing community partner of the Danbury Farmers’ Market Community Collaborative (DFMCC) providing on-site indirect or direct nutrition education for the past 12 years. In the past 5 years, SNAP participants have benefited from direct nutrition education via a 30 minute bilingual nutrition presentation and cooking demonstration.  This year given COVID-19, only farm vendors are permitted at the market.  SNAP-Ed needed to be a bit more creative in 2020.  SNAP-Ed Food Security is providing to market-goers weekly bilingual recipes, nutrition handouts and a postcard with QR code that links to low cost bilingual videos. SNAP-Ed Food Security partnered with the Danbury Public Library to offer a Zoom presentation, participants were encouraged to use SNAP or pandemic SNAP benefits at the market which allows doubling of SNAP benefits and as an incentive for their participation were provided a reusable insulated grocery tote at the market. All SNAP-Ed Food Security videos are posted on the UConn Extension YouTube channel, Danbury Farmers’ Market YouTube channel, and to social media outlets. If market-goers watch the Danbury Farmers’ Market YouTube videos and report back to the cashier at the farmers’ market, additional incentives from DFMCC include a free $3 plastic coin towards produce purchases.

YouTube Page: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCo2hcRxQSIxJdHoOZ7JZRSA

EFNEP and SNAP graphic

Did You Know: Urban Agriculture

Learning in the Field and the Classroom

farmers market
Urban agriculture students at the Danbury Farmers Market.

Students in the Urban Agriculture and IPM Training program completed 180 hours of classroom instruction, and volunteered 1,603 hours. Volunteer time was spent working on the farm preparing the land, building raised garden beds, planting and maintaining an acre of organic vegetables, and selling produce at the Danbury Farmer’s Market.

“We have learned to work as a team, and to grow organic vegetables. We learned to cultivate vegetables the right way,” says Juan Guallpa, a student in the urban agriculture class of 2014.

From April through October of 2015, students produced more than 10 different vegetables and herbs including spinach, cilantro, dill, basil, carrots, beets, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, zucchini, squash, radishes, and cabbage. Through the program, more than 4,000 pounds of locally produced, organic vegetables were distributed among 150 low-income families.

The group of students is creating a non-profit organization to continue promoting urban agriculture among Hispanics.