Councilman John Goncalves and Community Partners Announce “Produce in The Park”

Jun 26, 2020 | 0 comments

The Partnership for Providence Parks, Friends of Cabral Park, iPROV Fellow Eleanor Pereboom and Councilman Goncalves
Create Food Share Partnership for the Fox Point Community

Today, Councilman John Goncalves (Ward 1) has announced the launch of a robust community partnership with the Friends of Cabral Park, Providence Partnership for Parks spearheaded by Helene Miller, and iProv Fellow Eleanor Pereboom to provide a safe and reliable food source for the Fox Point community. The program is especially designed for senior citizens who live adjacent to the Park, and the partnership aims to develop community-driven food justice in Fox Point. “Produce in the Park” will officially begin in early July.

“As we are still facing a global pandemic, our elderly population is vulnerable, and we know that access to locally harvested and sustainably grown healthy foods like fruits and vegetables are an essential element in boosting our immune systems,” stated Councilman John Goncalves. “My concern is for our seniors who live in Fox Point and are on a fixed income and don’t always have equitable access to quality fruits and vegetables. I am very pleased that I was able to join forces with these amazing community partners to create an equitable and sustainable food source in our community.”

Although the program does not officially begin until July, Cricket Wireless will be giving away 100 donated bags of fresh groceries to seniors at Fox Point Manor today at 2:00 PM. They will first meet Councilman Goncalves, Helen Miller, Eleanor Pereboom, and community volunteers to pack today’s bags of fresh fruits and veggies at 1:00 PM in Cabral Park. They will then deliver to the management at Fox Point Manor for contactless delivery.

Corey Beverly, Senior Marketing Manager at Cricket Wireless stated, “This event is just one of the food distribution activities Cricket is spearheading in markets across the country throughout the month of June. These initiatives are a part of Cricket Cares platform, which is dedicated to building healthy human connections for happier youth and seniors. Through Cricket Cares, Cricket supports people of all ages by fostering kindness, encouraging healthy mobile habits, and providing additional resources to help individuals overcome challenging times.”

The partnership developed out of the concern around the health risks of crowded public spaces and a scant supply of fresh fruits and vegetable accessibility for vulnerable seniors. Produce in the Park will be offering bountiful shares of locally sourced produce, pre-packaged and available for open-air pick up in a de-densified environment to keep residents safe and well-fed.

“The Partnership for Providence Parks (P3) provides support and resources for neighbors that we call Friends who seek to transform their public parks into thriving green spaces that reflect the unique needs and character of their community. At the core of P3’s mission is the building and strengthening of Friends Groups. Pre-COVID 19, P3 had the honor of working alongside the seniors forming a Friends of Cabral Park with plans to activate the park as a hub of health, wellness, and cultural activities during the summer. Once the pandemic began, the seniors’ need for food access came into sharp focus and the group had the idea to use the park and their Park Friends Group as platforms to address their food insecurity. The Friends worked in partnership with P3, Councilman Goncalves, and P3’s iPROV Fellow, Eleanor Pereboom, to develop “Produce in the Parks”. Today’s distribution of one hundred bags of produce marks the first step in realizing this goal of the Friends of Cabral Park to address the needs of their own community” says Helene Miller, Executive Director of P3.

Produce in the Park is a 10-week subscription program where residents will pick up a carefully curated box of locally sourced vegetables. The program will begin July 8, 2020, and run through September 9, 2020, with pick-up on Wednesday’s from 10 am – 6 pm in Cabral Park on Wickenden Street. Produce shares are $21 per week ($210 for the season). Shareholders can sign up using the form below, which helps subsidize seniors:

Food Share Sign Up Form

Payments can be made weekly but shareholders must commit to the full 10-week program, and SNAP/Bonus Bucks are accepted. For individuals with SNAP/Bonus Bucks the cost will be $4.50 per week.

“We are thrilled that these community partners have come together to offer our residents healthy fruits and vegetables. I look forward to the launch of this program and are grateful to all involved” says the Fox Point Manor Resident Services Coordinator, Gloria Isacco, and Property Manager Karen Fagundes.

Produce shares consist of 7-8 share items each week, sourced from local farms that commit to sustainable growing practices to ensure the highest quality for residents. Every week the box will be different based on what is in season. An example share might look like: one pound of cucumbers, one head of lettuce, three peaches, one pound of tomatoes, one bunch of scallions, two ears of corn, and one summer squash.

“The Providence Parks Department is pleased that an accessible neighborhood park will be utilized for the Produce in the Parks program,” said Providence Parks Department Superintendent Wendy Nilsson. “We hope the program will increase food access and encourage the use of many of the City’s beautiful greenspaces to support healthy engagement all summer long.”

In order to keep the community safe, the following COVID-19 Safety Protocols will be in place: masks are required for all; everyone must remain 6-feet apart; anyone who feels sick will be asked to stay home, and the partnership will arrange home delivery; share pick-up times will be pre-assigned to ensure that no more than 15 people are in the Park at any given time; produce will be pre-bagged so that the number of people who touch any given produce item is limited, and finally the program encourages shareholders to thoroughly wash any produce before consuming it.

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