South Royalton Market
Be Our Guest
We pay for a meal once/month at the Royalton Area Senior Center. Senior Center staff and volunteers prepare the meal but the Market covers the cost.
This grew out of a conversation about 10 years ago when we were talking about ways to increase access to good food. Most of the discussion focused on children and families. We realized that seniors often face similar financial barriers. Many of us are relative newcomers to the area. We were attracted to the White River Valley because of the strength of the local communities — the communities that the seniors had shaped in earlier years. This program is one way we can thank them back.
About 35 people typically come to the meal. The Senior Center director often schedules live music or another activity on that day.
Got Extra is one way that the Market gets fresh summer produce to people who might not otherwise have it. There are three steps in the process: farmers or gardeners with more vegetables than they can use; the Market’s Outreach Coordinator, who serves as distributor; and diligent volunteers at local food pantries and meal sites.
Originally, the Market served as a drop-off site for farmers and home gardeners on specified days. As our business has grown, this has become impractical — we just don’t have the space in our receiving area or the walk-in cooler.
We’re on the verge of an expansion which will give us more room. In the meantime, we’ve pared the program down to one very generous local farm. The Market’s Outreach Coordinator visits the farm, loads up with extra produce, then connects with two local food shelf volunteers. One food shelf distributes in within hours, the other on the following day.
We run this program every other week in July and August, and one week in Sept. and Oct. We average around 800 pounds in a year.
Says Raylene Lemery, organizer of Royalton’s community dinners, “I can’t begin to express the help that comes from the co-op and the farmers who donate food, and what it means. When you give someone a head of lettuce and see the smile on their face…”
Food Shelf Donations
We have a year-round collection box by the register for shelf-stable products. Local food shelf organizers are also our customers. We encourage them to empty the box when they shop here. Serves three local food pantries (two that aren’t part of Got Extra) and the Royalton Community Dinners.
Library Summer Reading Club
Each summer our Outreach Coordinator does one session at the local library’s summer reading club. This includes reading a story, discussion (about cooperation or inclusiveness in some way), and hands-on activities. This includes chicken cups (transforming a plastic cup into an instrument that you can make cluck like a chicken) and preparing food for a healthy snack. Children take home leftovers. 15-40 kids participate.
Power of Produce (PoP) Club
Working w/ the Royalton Farmers Market coordinator to support this new program. First time this year. Here’s a link to the national program: https://farmersmarketcoalition.org/programs/power-of-produce-pop/