Free farmer's market returns to Cranston

Posted 7/12/22


Under a glorious blue sky with a slight breeze, OneCranston HEZ welcomed the community back to its free farmer's market on July 7 at the Bain Middle School track.

Ivy Swinski, …

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Free farmer's market returns to Cranston



Under a glorious blue sky with a slight breeze, OneCranston HEZ welcomed the community back to its free farmer's market on July 7 at the Bain Middle School track.

Ivy Swinski, Project Manager for OneCranston HEZ, was pleased with the turn out for the first day.

"We gave out 50 bags, feeding 190 people once factoring in household size," said Swinski.

The produce OnCranston gave out included kale, collard greens, garlic and scape, beets, amaranth, green onions, zucchini, cucumbers, scallions, bok choy and lettuce. In addition to the fresh produce, there were tables set up from local community support organizations.

The Parent Support Network handed out Narcan and information around Substance Use Disorder while the Elizabeth Buffam Chace Center gave out information on working with victims of domestic violence Lastly, the Center for South East Asians handed out information about its programs and supports.

“Throughout the summer we will also have Cranston Tree Committee, Health Source RI, CCAP's Learn to Earn Program and hopefully some others," Swinsky said.

The organization’s ultimate goal through hosting the farmer’s market is to provide access to fresh foods that people want in the household. According to the organization, 22 percent of OneCranston HEZ residents indicated that they had no access to healthy food; 31 percent did not have access to affordable food and 70 percent had no access to food important to their culture.

OneCranston HEZ purchases $1,000 of food each week to distribute to families. Sarah Cote, the organization’s Initiative Director, said each farmer’s market sees between 70 and 100 people and usually there isn’t extra food left over. If there is, those items are donated to a local food pantry. Last year, the organization gave away 1,300 bags of produce to Cranston residents.

Cote said 90 percent of the residents who visit the market are from the 02910 and 02920 areas and, since the farmer’s market is just for Cranston residents, OneCranston HEZ verifies their residency by asking for their zip code before they collect food.

Last year the organization had different events at the farmer’s market including Zumba and Tai chi. This year, Cote said there will be interactive boards with questions for individuals to answer; this past week’s question asked families how many times a week they cook their own meals.

Many families were relieved when the market returned this year.

"With inflation on the rise, it’s not easy for many families to afford healthy meal options at home. We feel very fortunate to live in a city where residents like ourselves are able to have access to this grant funded farmer’s market. Our kids love vegetables and it’s a fun weekly experience for the whole family," said Erin Gee.

Gee, Alan Sousa and their children – Avery, 5, and Quinn, 2.5, -- are regular visitors.

Using the ingredients in a simple dish, can sometimes yield the greatest rewards.

"I just sautéed a bunch of the leafy greens up in a pan with olive oil, salt and pepper, and added it to our Indian chicken sauce and served it over rice. We can't wait to go back, and see what's being offered," Gee said.

Another Cranston resident, Jason Golditch, appreciated the opportunity to try new products.

"I would like to thank the organizers of the free farmer's market. I hadn't been to one before, and was amazed by the selection of great produce," said Golditch.

Golditch is also excited to return and try new items.

"I plan on returning each and every time the free market is available. I enjoyed the lettuce and the snow peas. The variety gave me an opportunity to try and cook with items I have never used before. It was fun to experiment with ingredients I had previously not been familiar with," he said.

Chef William J. Lendway from Johnson and Wales University was on hand cooking up tasty samples of what can be done with the ingredients provided. He will continue to be there each week, providing samples and recipes. Local small business Guatemala Coffee Shop and Distribution will also be selling its coffee each week.

The market is free to all Cranston residents and will be open from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. every Thursday until Sept. 15 (weather permitting) at the Bain Middle School track.

For more information about OneCranston HEZ and its services, contact the organization at, (401) 714-7004 or

farmer's market, OneCranston HEZ


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