New East Hill Farmers Market ready for launch

Our much anticipated East Hill Farmers Market kicks off its inaugural season on Saturday, May 13 at the Morrill Meadows Park.

The open air bazaar is the culmination of months of planning and preparation by teams of Living Well Kent Collaborative volunteers. It will feature locally grown produce by South King County farmers as well as a diverse mix of cultural music and a range of family activities.

The East Hill Farmers Market will operate from 9:30 a.m to 5 p.m. on May 13. For the remainder of the season — June 30, July 21, Aug. 25 and Sept. 22 – it will operate beginning at 3:30 p.m.

Kent Mayor Suzette Cooke will present a signed proclamation on opening day, declaring May 13, Kent Healthy Eating Day.

The idea for the East Hill Farmers Market grew out of a food assessment that Living Well Kent’s newly created Food Policy Council conducted last year.

The assessment found that many Kent residents, particularly immigrants and refugees and those of low-income, had difficulty accessing healthy food options. The assessment also determined that the zip codes 98030 and 98032 are food deserts.

A farmers’ market was a primary recommendation by the council for addressing barriers to healthy eating for all residents, regardless of race, ethnicity and gender.

Vendors will be asked to pay small fee to set up stalls and can make additional donations to LWK if they wish.

Living Well Kent plans to implement a number of programs at the market for low-income residents, including Fresh Bucks. Under Fresh Bucks, an incentive started five years ago by Seattle’s Office of Sustainability and Environment and the Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance, every food stamp dollar spent at a farmers market or food stand is matched up to $10 a day.

It has also partnered with the mobile farm stand, Roots of All Roads (ROAR) to help connect with local growers and vendors in South King County and has received financial assistance to train and prepare the Kent Food Co-op to operate the farmers’ market beyond this inaugural year.