Ward 8 has long been notorious for its lack of food options, whether it’s the paucity of sit-down restaurants or the skimpy produce aisles of its bodegas. Just as the ward is about to gain a Giant supermarket, the Capital Area Food Bank has decided to pull out of the farmer’s market business. In a few weeks, it will cease operating its stands at Peace Park, located at 14th Street between U and V Streets SE.
“The market has frankly never broken even,” explains Jody Tick, director of the bank’s Harvest for Health program. They’ve had to pay farmers to show up for its Wednesday-only market, she says. Tick adds that the market nets only about 120 customers per week and these customers spend on average $4 per transaction.
While the market will soon be gone, the food bank plans to ramp up its program to educate children on nutrition. Hence the prospect that Ward 8 youth will become experts on spinach and carrots yet have trouble finding them in their own neighborhood.
Yavocka D. Young, a Ward 8 activist, isn’t upset by the news, arguing that the market wasn’t ambitious enough. “We would like to see something more along the lines of Eastern Market,” she says. “It doesn’t have to be all food.”