Sequim Food Bank
Hours: 1-4 p.m., Monday, 9 a.m.-noon, Friday and Saturday
Where: 144 W. Alder St.
The plentiful produce grown within the Sequim-Dungeness Valley was made accessible to Sequim Food Bank visitors in a community-centric pilot program.
Based on the first needs assessment conducted for the Sequim Food Bank in March, fresh fruit and vegetables are the most requested items, Mark Ozias, food bank executive director, said.
Learning this, Ozias sought to bring not only more, but local fresh fruit and vegetables to the Sequim Food Bank.
“It’s been pretty amazing,” he said. “One of the neatest aspects is it’s helping people feel special.”
Working with Nash’s Organic Produce, a longtime organic farm within the Dungeness River delta, Ozias was able to coordinate hosting a farmers market at the Sequim Food Bank and allow visitors to pick out between $15-$20 worth of produce.
Because Nash’s already regularly donates to the food bank, it was an easy partnership, Ozias said. Officials with Nash’s agreed to sell their produce to the food bank at wholesale allowing them to cover their costs, but also allowing the Sequim Food Bank to both serve and offer more.
“This is something we’re really excited about,” Devon Beck, Nash’s farmers market manager, said. “People have been very happy and grateful to have us here.”
While Beck educated visitors on the varying types of produce at the market, Monica Dixon, a registered dietitian, chef and Sequim Food Bank volunteer, provided live cooking demonstrations using the foods available.
“It’s a great collaboration,” she said.
Working within the scope and budget of the pilot program, Ozias was able to bring the farmers market to the food bank twice thus far, but given the success he hopes to continue and grow the program.
“We would love to do it again,” he said. “Ultimately, I would like to do it on a semi-regular basis and get more farms involved.”
The program was funded by a Sequim resident, whose donation not only funded the “Farmers market at the food bank,” but also helped support a student backpack program via the Sequim Food Bank.
Pending review of the program’s budget, Ozias may be able to bring the farmers market to the food bank once more before the year’s end.
Reach Alana Linderoth at firstname.lastname@example.org.