October 9, 2015|By Hilary Ross| Food

Popsicles, sizzling temperatures, and fresh fruits and vegetables: the signs of summer. Temperatures may be cooling off now, but here at The Conservation Fund, we’re wrapping up a summer project: an online archive of our best photography. Over the coming months, we’ll share some of our favorite images here on the blog.

The Fund believes that conservation must start with community. Supporting the growth and distribution of local, fresh food results in sustainable agricultural practices that are both best for the environment and serves the needs of the people. In this way, conservation results in livable communities with a healthy environment that meets human needs.

And there is definitely a need for access to healthy, fresh food. More than 23 million Americans—that’s greater than the entire population of New York State—have limited or no access to fresh produce, dairy, meats and seafood. In West Virginia, this problem is especially acute, so we partnered with CSX to create a Healthy Food Distribution Initiative. As we launch a second season of our Healthy Food Distribution Initiative and small grants fund with CSX, we’re highlighting our partnership through photos. Check out five photos from last year’s McDowell County farmer’s market, which provides fresh food in areas where leafy greens are in short supply.

CSXProject EzraGregg Blog1By connecting low-income children to the natural world through fresh, healthy food, we hope to share the value of conservation with a new generation. Last year, this initiative provided food vouchers to 5,000 kids living below the poverty line, and we’re looking forward to serving more children and families at this year’s markets. 

CSXProject EzraGregg Blog4The farmer’s market creates opportunities for families to try foods together, like leafy spinach at Kids Farmers Market Day. Our project provides vouchers for children, specifically to be spent on fresh fruits and vegetables at local farmers markets. So, when families find tasty vegetables, they can buy the produce right away without worry.

CSXProject EzraGregg Blog3The markets offer fresh fruit and vegetables like tomatoes, peaches, spinach, squash, and green beans. And they even sell products like fresh honey, local eggs, and homemade strawberry jam.

CSXProject EzraGregg Blog2Families come rain or shine. In addition to shopping for fresh foods, kids and community members learn about healthy nutrition through our partners.

CSXProject EzraGregg Blog5Here, Sylvester Edwards, owner and farmer at New Creekside Farm in McDowell County, West Virginia, carries tubs of greens to sell at a local farmer’s market.

All photos by Ezra Gregg.