On a sunny Thursday morning, Clarice Page walked down the hallway of the second floor of the Holton Career and Resource Center, home to Durham Parks and Recreation.
Page was one of many Durham residents walking down the hallway that morning headed for Parks and Recreation’s farmers’ market event for seniors over the age of 55. At the event, people are able to take home fresh fruits, vegetables, eggs and bread at no cost to them.
Page and her friend, William Kea, said they enjoy coming to the event.
“It’s always been nice,” Page said. Kea added, “Four years coming here and we enjoy it, too.”
Christian Dixon, who has worked with the program for two years, said he loves the farmers’ market because, “it’s a great opportunity to give back to the community.”
The food is donated by Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, an organization based out of Raleigh that donates food to those in need, as part of their mobile market program. They collect food from over 350 donors, including the NC State Farmers Market and Harris Teeter.
Cindy Sink, the director of marketing and strategy for Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, said access to fresh, healthy food is crucial and that they’re dedicated to making sure families have that access, no matter what their situation is.
“We think it’s a basic human right that people have access to fresh, healthy food,” Sink said. “Our mobile market is a way we distribute food to communities in need. We think it’s the best way to do it because people have choice.”
When people like Page arrive at the event, they sign in and take a number. While the farmers’ market is getting set up in the other room, they get to gather around a table and chat together. Laughs, smiles, and friendship are shared.
Just one room over, though, Dixon and several student volunteers spend the morning unpacking freshly delivered food. Bags of avocados, oranges and carrots were some of the produce delivered. Fresh bread and cakes, and cartons of fresh eggs were lined up with the produce on the tables of the adjoining room.
Sometimes at the event, someone from the health department comes in to teach everyone new recipes they can make with their fresh food.
Page said that even though she’s been cooking for quite some time, she was still able to pick up a few new tricks.
The farmers’ market event is one that attracts people for many reasons.
Barbara Bosey said, “I enjoy getting fresh food. I’m on a special diet so this helps me a lot.”
Special diet was also a motivation for other participants, including Marie Alston, who said having access to fresh fruit and vegetables for no cost is great, “especially since I just recently became a vegan.”
Others, like Johnnie Satterwhite, don’t only come out for the food. They say it’s about the community of the event.
“I get to meet a whole lot of people,” Satterwhite said. “I get a little advice too, and I like the place.”
Catherine Ferrell, a 104-year-old Durham resident, said “I’ve been coming here for quite a while,” but she, too, isn’t just coming for the food.
“I like the fellowship,” Ferrell said.
The Durham Parks and Recreation free farmers’ market event at Holton Career and Resource Center is held on the third Thursday of every month and is open to people over the age of 55. For more information, visit https://durhamnc.gov/753/Parks-Recreation.