DCHHS Helps Open New Farmers Market in Oak Cliff to Increase Availability of Affordable Fresh Produce
With many areas in Southern Dallas County designated as “food deserts” by the USDA, residents can struggle to find access to affordable fresh produce needed to maintain a healthy diet. That’s why the Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS) Chronic Disease Prevention Division has focused on projects that will increase the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables in target areas. One such project is the newly opened “For Oak Cliff” Farmers Market, which was established using $157,000 in USDA grant funding secured by DCHHS.
Supporting Community Health and Wellness
The For Oak Cliff Farmers Market was spearheaded by DCHHS’ Chronic Disease Prevention Division and For Oak Cliff local community organization, in partnership with GROW North Texas, Texas Small Farmers and Ranchers Community Based Organization, Oak Cliff Veggie Project, and Good Local Markets.
The aim of the market is to reduce rates of nutrition-related chronic diseases like diabetes, obesity, and heart disease by increasing access to fresh fruits and vegetables in a food desert in the southern sector of Dallas County.
With the focus on wellness, Parkland Health provides health screening services to support overall community health. Nutrition education and cooking demonstrations, provided by the DCHHS Chronic Disease Prevention Program’s Registered Dietitian, round out the market’s offerings to support increased knowledge and consumption of fresh produce.
The farmers market offers other forms of community support, providing opportunities for local socially disadvantaged farmers and growers to receive training on how to sell at farmers markets and to participate as vendors.
When and Where to Visit
The For Oak Cliff Farmers Market held its pilot market “soft launch” on April 2, 2022, followed by the grand opening on May 7, 2022. Seventeen vendors participated at the May 7 market, including five produce vendors.
The market currently operates once a month—every first Saturday—with plans to add additional market days and potentially expanded hours in 2023-2024. The overall goal for the three-year grant period is to have 100 total vendors participate, of which 50 are produce vendors, and to sell $450,000 in goods and produce.
The DCHHS Chronic Disease Division will continue supporting and promoting the establishment of new fresh produce sources, including farmers markets, community gardens, farm stands, and urban orchards in underserved areas of the County.
You can find more information about the For Oak Cliff Farmers Market on its website.