New South Windsor Meals Alliance Seeks To Promote Wholesome Meals, Farmer’s Market – Hartford Courant

SOUTH WINDSOR — Community leaders are discussing a series of initiatives to support local farms and encourage healthy eating.

The South Windsor Food Alliance, composed of members drawn from the town’s parks and recreation commission, the Agriculture Land Preservation Advisory Commission and the historical society, has met biweekly since the start of this year to plan their projects, which they hope to implement over the next five to eight years.

Andrew Paterna, a parks commission member who is leading the new alliance, said it was formed to help centralize healthy-eating efforts in town.

“I think there was a little bit of disconnect,” Paterna said, referring to what he perceived as a lack of awareness among some community members about eating well and buying locally. “More and more, farms need to be supported by their local towns to encourage them not to leave.”

The group’s most immediate priority is to help support the historical society’s weekly farmers’ market, which will feature at least three new vendors when it begins its third summer season on Sunday.

The market, adjacent to the Union District School property at 771 Main St., will run from 10 am until 2 pm every Sunday until October 14.

Joining about nine returning vendors, Somers-based Shadow Valley Farms will sell dairy products, New Britain-based Chet’s Italian Ice will scoop its cold treats, and Ellington-based Longview Hill Farm will sell free-range eggs and chicken, said Mary Busky, the society’s market manager.

The alliance is helping market organizers recuit vendors and arrange entertainment, including pony rides, face-painting, and music performances, to be staggered throughout the summer.

The alliance also recently received a $300 grant from the parks and recreation commission to print signs to highlight seven plots of land that the town leases to local farmers.

The group hopes to launch the town’s first winter farmers’ market in late October, start a second community garden to supplement the existing Avery Street Community Gardens next summer, and establish a food co-op modeled after the Willimantic Food Co-op in the coming years.

The group also plans to join with the public schools to start a food composting project and work with organizers of the recently launched Foodshare produce distribution site in town, Paterna said.

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