Teens with Breath of Life Dorchester (BOLD) and their neighborhood partners last week highlighted the Dorchester Winter Market set up outside the Shawmut MBTA Station.
The winter market has been around since 2014 and was located in the Great Hall until the Covid crisis forced the market to go online in 2021. But this year, the weather has been more of a challenge than the virus. The market has set up outdoors to offer fresh food and meats and a variety of other items each Saturday while maintaining the online delivery options.
“This market is important to the community because we deserve fresh food in Dorchester year-round,” said BOLD Teen Kristina Pruitt, a Dorchester resident who is helping with the market.
Tony Stankiewicz, Dr. Michelle Sanchez of the Epiphany School, Codman Square Neighborhood Health Center CEO Sandra Cotterell, State Rep. Russell Holmes and Sheree Holmes.
Cynthia Loesch-Johnson, chair of the Codman Square Neighborhood Council (CSNC), a partner in the Market, said being able to keep the market going has helped reinforce Codman Square’s desire to have healthy options over fast food options like Popeye’s Fried Chicken – which was turned away several years ago by the neighborhood.
“It is important to have these options available,” she said. “We have a lot of fast-food options and corner stores, but we don’t have sit-down restaurants and healthy options here…Many of the young people here are tired of the fast food and they’re tired of the corner stores with junk food.”
Codman Square Neighborhood Council Chair Cynthia Loesch-Johnson speaks about the importance of providing healthy food options in Codman Square, and how the Winter Market fits into that vision.
State Rep. Russell Holmes said he supported the effort and was encouraged to be able to help the market locate on state property, which wasn’t an easy task.
Councillor Brian Worrell, who represents Dorchester and Mattapan, used the recent Saturday event at the market to highlight an effort he coordinated with the City Kids, Inc.
Councillor Brian Worrell said working with the City Kids, Inc. charity, he was able to help the market double the availability of food coupons for the Mayor’s Food Access Coupon program.
“They called me to see if there was any help we could find for that program, and City Kids has agreed to match the amount and double the amount in the program,” he said.
Mayor Michelle Wu, who spoke to a lively crowd gathered Saturday afternoon outside Shawmut Station, compared the effort to urban farmers she has visited with over the years who told her that making sure the ground is healthy is the biggest step to a cornucopia harvest.
Mayor Wu said the Winter Market fits in with her vision for the re-tooled Office of Food Justice and BostonGrows.
“They told me there’s a lot you can do around pruning once the plants bloom…, but if you really want to develop a fresh food pipeline, it’s about the quality of the soil,” she said. “It’s about the nutrients and tilling the soil and turning it over. That’s what this entire city needs to do – till the soil for our young people to grow and bloom.”
Also in attendance on Saturday were Councillors Erin Murphy and Ruthzee Louijeune, as well as Codman Square Neighborhood Health Center CEO Sandra Cotterell.
Apolo Catala, Jeanie Blaxter, Councillor Ruthzee Louijeune, Alex Shaw, and Mary Regan of the Dorchester Food Co-Op.
The market, which is managed by Dorchester’s Richard Scott, will be open at Shawmut Station this Saturday, March 12, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Councillor at-Large Erin Murphy with Dorchester’s Cynthia Harding.