ACTION’s pop-up market seeks to bring fresh produce into Youngstown food desert

Local News

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Friday, ACTION hosted one of its pop-up farmers markets.

It is part of an 18-week plan to get more fresh produce into Youngstown’s food desert.

“Youngstown in 2018 was designated a food desert, meaning there are not grocery stores within one mile of most city people,” said Coordinator Sonja Voytko.

That affects people like Pamela Moore, who lives on the west side.

“The closest grocery store to me is Save-a-Lot in Austintown or Giant Eagle in Austintown,” Moore said. “It’s about 7 or 8 miles.”

That’s about a 15-minute drive.

She’s a regular at the pop-up markets. This is her third one of the summer.

One woman from McDonald came to the pop-up by a happy accident when a friend invited her.

“I’m so excited to see a pop-up farmers market because I haven’t seen a lot of fresh produce yet. Where I came from, I had accessibility to a lot of different produce,” said Ammie Fay, who moved here recently from Washington state.

“I’ve never had to search stores for the produce I want to cook,” she added.

Fay said she’s used to having a lot more options to find fresh fruits and vegetables.

“My husband and I wanted to smoke jalapenos on the barbecue grill for our family, so that was 13 jalapenos he sent me to the store for. I had to go to three different stores. I went to two different major brands and one small brand to get a pack of six jalapenos,” she said.

Poor produce quality is also a problem that many people at the pop-up said they run into.

If money is a barrier, ACTION has options.

“They won’t walk away without their produce. We have vouchers,” Voytko said.

The pop-up markets are in a different location every week to try to reach as many people as possible.
The next one will be at Newport Library, starting at 11 a.m.

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