The 5pm Post – Columbia Heights Community Marketplace receives big USDA grant

Photo by PoPville flickr user Mr. T in DC

From a press release:

“The Columbia Heights Community Marketplace received a $65,000 grant from the federal government earlier this week to help more low-income individuals and families purchase fresh, nutritious food, develop the local Columbia Heights economy and increase incomes for local farmers.

“This grant will help us get local food into the hands of our less fortunate friends and neighbors in Columbia Heights and beyond and also expand economic opportunity for family farmers in the Washington, DC region,” said Robert Schubert, executive director of the Columbia Heights Community Marketplace, a 501c3 non-profit organization.

In order to encourage individuals from all walks of life to participate in this market and increase access to nutritious food, the Marketplace doubles the value of various types of federal nutrition assistance — SNAP, WIC Get Fresh Checks and Senior FMNP coupons – up to $10 each week through its Festibucks program. This stretches low-income community members’ limited food budget to ensure that they can purchase nutritious food that will improve their health.

With this grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farmers Market Promotion Program, the Marketplace can now greatly expand Festibucks so that hundreds more low-income community members can purchase good food that’s good for them.

“This program was incentive for my children to be more involved in their nutrition choices,” said one user of Festibucks in 2010. “They found it fun to shop and make choices at the market.”

To learn more about the Columbia Heights Community Marketplace, please visit and Follow us on Twitter at

To learn more about the Farmers Market Promotion Program, please visit”

14 Comment

  • The Marketplace’s “Second Annual Harvest Evening” is set for Wednesday, Nov. 9th from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at All Souls Church (1500 Harvard Street, NW). Tickets, which are available at the Marketplace information table or online at, cost $30. All proceeds will benefit the Marketplace’s programs. Please come for this night of delicious food and drink, fun and music. The Marketplace is a 501c3, non-profit organization.

    Also, as part of National Food Day, Meridian Pint Executive Chef David Shewmaker will demonstrate recipes using sustainably grown food from the Marketplace from 10 to 11 a.m. this Saturday, October 22nd at the CH Community Marketplace, 14th Street and Park Road, NW, starting at 9 a.m.

    Hope to see everyone there.

    • I went to the Harvest Evening event last year and had a blast! Def going to be headed there again this year. Tons of food and drink for a great cause!

  • This week’s Columbia Heights Community Marketplace is going to be extra awesome given there will be free yoga! Daysha from Quiet Mind Yoga will lead a free one-hour yoga class at 9:00 AM on Saturday.

    Also, if you are in need of fall decorations Chesley Farm has lots of sweet gourds and pumpkins for fall festivities. If you are looking for good food, I would recommend picking up some sweet potatoes from Dragonfly Farm…the ones I got last week were some of the best I have ever had!

    If you are looking for holiday gifts, there are tons of wonderful local artists that sell at the market. I got my friend some really affordable, locally made earrings for her birthday!

    Needless to say, come out this Saturday for good food, company, and an all around good time!

  • That’s fantastic.

    Wish I could afford to buy produce at farmers markets.

    • The produce at the Columbia Heights marketplace is generally
      cheaper than grocery stores. I spend about 20-30 dollars a week there and get all my produce and a carton eggs for a week for myself and my wife.

      • thanks for the heads up! I get really discouraged because the produce at the dupont and mt pleasant farmers markets is way more expensive than produce at whole foods. I mean… wtf?

        • I totally agree with you. Dupont farmers market is ridiculous. The Columbia Heights Farmers market and the one in Petworth(Friday’s) are both very reasonable. Yeah and once you go farm fresh eggs you never go back.

          • super good to know. I haven’t gone to the CH farmer’s market since moving from bdale because I figured it would be stupid expensive–the prices at bdale are also absurd (at least for the stuff I eat).

  • In other news, HUD and DOJ announced a grant to move low income families out of CoHi to make the neighborhood safer for the gentrifiers who demanded the farmers market in the first place.

  • Whoa! $65,000.00??? I’d really like to know how this actually works out. A thousand people get $650.00 to spend on veggies? Twenty farmers get $3,200.00? Please give us more info.

    • That would be 1000 people get $65 apiece to buy veggies.

      My guess is that a portion of it pays for the “double dollars” aspect of it, and a portion goes to a wireless system that can scan and debit EBT (food stamp) cards, plus someone to run it a couple hours a week.

      • The grant funds will be used to ensure that more low income families are able to participate in the Marketplace. Currently, each week, over 100 individuals and families on WIC, Senior Fresh Checks and SNAP, partake in the program (our Festibucks double value program) and recieve up to $10 in matching funds each week to enable them to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables. We do have an EBT machine that can run SNAP cards (food stamps) which we also match up to $10 each week. The grant will help continue our outreach and marketing so that we can reach even more families, assist in getting individuals signed up for federal food assistance and help with the capacity to run an increased program at the market. If you have any more questions please feel free to email and the Market Manager will happily get back to you!

      • Yes – sorry, extra zero snuck in.

  • local farmers, ay? i’ll grow some crops in my Petworth yard if it means federal subsidies!

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