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Starting with a farmers market, Hope Zone aims to increase food access in northwest Dayton

There will be a farmer's market Saturday at the Hope Center for Families.
Kaitlin Schroeder
There will be a farmers market Saturday at the Hope Center for Families.

Omega Community Development Corporation will hold a farmers market June 15, with the goal of increasing access to fresh produce in northwest Dayton.

The farmers market is part of a sweeping initiative called the Hope Zone Promise Neighborhood, funded by the U.S. Department of Education. The goal is to support families in the 17 neighborhoods surrounding the Hope Center for Families campus on Harvard Boulevard.

Omega CDC hopes to expand the market over time and is working to develop a community garden on the Hope Zone campus.

“Ideally what this leads to is a variety of things. One is an expanded calendar of farmers' markets throughout the year, potentially located in multiple locations throughout the 17 neighborhoods," said Tracy Sibbing, the managing director of strategic initiatives at Omega CDC.

The first Hope Zone farmers market took place in October 2023. The Omega CDC will host its second farmers market from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., June 15 at the organization's Hope Center for Families.

The farmers market will host a collection of local vendors including Bold Believer's Food Pantry, the Salem Garden, Grace Farms and more.

The idea arose from a collection of community member workgroups. Each group came together to build new strategies to implement in northwest Dayton to better serve the community.

“We absolutely want the community to dictate and determine what those intermediate and long term strategies will be associated with accessing fresh fruits and vegetables and the expansion of farmer's markets,” Sibbing said.

The organization is also incentivizing members of its workgroups with $10 in "Hope Zone Bucks" to spend at the Farmers' Market.

"Additionally, we are partnering with a local food bank that will be available for any family that attends the farmer's market that expresses a need for additional support with accessing food," Sibbing said. "And so they will sign up and then they will be able to go to the food pantry."

Omega CDC received Promise Neighborhood grant money amounting to nearly $29 million which was designed to be used across the span of five years. With these federal funding dollars, Sibbing said they can provide services that neighbors want and need.

For more information about events and services available through Omega CDC, visit omega-cdc.org.

Shay Frank was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio. Before working at WYSO, Shay worked as the Arts Writer for the Blade Newspaper in Toledo, Ohio. In addition to working at the paper, she worked as a freelancer for WYSO for three years and served as the vice president of the Toledo News Guild. Now located back in the Dayton area, Shay is thrilled to be working with the team at WYSO and reporting for her hometown community.