NourishNC, Support the Port to host farmer's market for neighborhood affected by fire

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - NourishNC and Support the Port will host a free farmer's market June 23 to support the neighborhood on Greenfield Street that was affected by a fire in early May.

The Greenfield Street Pop-Up Farmer's Market will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. outside the Old Century Mills building on the corner of Eighth and Greenfield streets. It is free and intended for the people from the Greenfield neighborhood.

According to NourishNC Executive Director Steve McCrossan, the organization usually helps hungry kids, but wanted to do something to help after Everybody's Supermarket was destroyed in the fire.

"This is our neighborhood and we are a part of this neighborhood," McCrossan said. "We felt obligated to take the discussion, and there's been a lot of lively discussion, and really move it into action.

The founder of Support the Port, Cedric Harrison, grew up in the neighborhood.

"When Everybody's burned down, a little of a burning sensation in me took place in me as well," he said. "That was part of my childhood so I literally felt something when that building burned down. (I) started reaching out and was like, 'Hey, what can we do? What can be done here?' ... Before I knew it, I was sitting here meeting with Steve from Nourish."

Harrison said he knows how much Everybody's meant to this community and how big of a loss it is now that it's gone.

"[Everybody's] meant Saturday mornings when cartoons are on and you wake up as a child and your mom is like, 'I got eggs, but I don't have bacon or I don't have grits or I don't have bread. Run to the store really quickly so I can finish breakfast,'" he recalled.

"That's your morning trip for you on a Saturday morning. You feel like an adult because you get to run to the store for mom and grab the one or two things she is missing from cooking that Saturday morning breakfast and we all know how important that is."

Brenda Evans lives in the Greenfield Street neighborhood. She said the past month without Everybody's has been difficult.

"It's kind of a lose-lose situation out here for people," she said.

Evans has fibromyalgia and uses a walker. Sometimes she picks up food from the Family Dollar nearby, but it doesn't have food fruits, meats and vegetables.

Evans takes the bus, like many others in the neighborhood, if she wants any of that food at the next closest grocery store, Food Lion on Oleander.

"People like me, and there are a lot of people who are disabled, and elderly who live in Garden Lake and with Everybody's right there, it was easier for us to go right there and get our groceries," Evans said. "Not everybody can afford to get on the bus because most of the people who live out here are disabled and elderly and we live on a fixed income."

One of those disabled neighbors is Vietnam veteran Norman Hewitt. He is housebound and used to pay people to get his groceries from Everybody's.

According to Hewitt, since they walked to the store, he would pay them about $2. Now, he has to pay them for gas and it adds up.

"It has caused more financial burden to get to other facilities," Hewitt said. "The support that Everybody's gave to us was a big help."

Evans said the farmer's market is great news, but she hopes it can be sustained.

"I would like and hope that they would continue doing that, not just because the store burned down, but because everybody needs to have as many fresh fruits and vegetables as they can get," she said.

McCrossan said he wants the farmer's market to be more than just food for the people in this community. He said there will be activities for kids provided by Smart Start and Fit for Fun Wilmington.

According to McCrossan and Harrison, the pop-up market is a one-time thing for now. They're talking with other nonprofits in the area and the city about how to create a monthly farmer's market in the neighborhood.

"The devil is in the details," McCrossan said. "The long-term sustainability is really the issue here and all of the conversations around some sort of pop-up market in the Greenfield Street community have revolved around two questions: Will it be sustainable and who is going to own it both literally and figuratively?"

"We want to at least put a big spotlight on it so we can at least reach the attention of people who have bigger resources that can help create something that can be a full-time, permanent solution instead of a temporary one," Harrison said.

If you'd like to help, visit Nourish's website, or email McCrossan at director@nourishnc.org.

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