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Market makes farm-to-table affordable

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Local vendor and Pomona realtor Naheema Fox showcases a scarf at her booth Thrifty Goodies on Saturday with the help of Nay Kim. The booth is filled with donations from local Pomona residents to aid the homeless population in the city. / photo by Melody Blazauskas

Local vendor and Pomona realtor Naheema Fox showcases a scarf at her booth Thrifty Goodies on Saturday with the help of Nay Kim. The booth is filled with donations from local Pomona residents to aid the homeless population in the city. / photo by Melody Blazauskas

Sumiko Rudisky
Staff Writer 

The Pomona Certified Farmers Market – recently revamped to help low-income residents get fresh fruit, vegetables and other goods at affordable prices – is held Saturday mornings on the corner on Pearl Street just west of Garey Avenue, in the parking lot of Purpose Church in Pomona. 

A few years ago the organization, the Pomona Community Farmer Alliance, partnered with the market, which had been struggling for years. 

“The mechanisms in capitalism don’t work to bring high quality food into lower quality neighborhoods,” said said Elinor Crescenzi, a community organizer and market manager. “They work to bring high quality food into high income neighborhoods.”

But this market, powered mostly by volunteers, who staff the market and sell organic produce at wholesale, offer free coffee, and more, are making farm-to-table affordable for everyone, even during the pandemic –  when so many are struggling to feed their families. 

And the market has more.

Naeema Fox, a vendor of  Thrifty Goodies, has used the community around her to make the booth successful. Coming from New York and moving to a new city, Fox was looking for a way to be involved with the community which led to her showing up to the farmers market where they were looking for someone to run a booth in aid of the homeless.  

“It all started with a free cup of coffee at this farmers market,” Fox said.  

The booth is filled with donations from people in the community to help give away to homeless and struggling families. Fox had the table set up with free clothing for people that attended the farmers market.

A realtor, Fox said she was able to help people find homes but also saw how many families didn’t have one. She said she has become community driven in her mission to help others.

“We will be highlighting her in the Women’s Month Celebration,” said Tamela Hutchinson, former community life commissioner for District 6. 

Fox said the group of people who come to support and hang out with her at the farmers market while also shopping for food has become a community. As a foster mom, she also sometimes brings her kids to the market, which she said is a safe place in the community for kids to play. 

“The farmers market is now thriving,” Cresceenzi said.

Sumiko Rudisky can be reached at sumiko.rudisky@laverne.edu.

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