Frequently Asked Questions
Download our 2018 Welcome Packet, print it out, and help build the movement:
Fresh Stop Market Basics and History
What is a Fresh Stop Market like?
A Fresh Stop Market is akin to a cross between a fruit and vegetable flash mob and a family reunion. After a while, a bond forms—not only between you and other members of the broader community, but between your family and the farmers, and the vegetables of course!
What is the connection between New Roots and the Fresh Stop Markets?
New Roots is the nonprofit organization that acts as a listener, guide and consultant helping to co-create processes with neighborhood leaders interested in forming Fresh Stop Markets. Fresh Stop Markets are the main initiative of New Roots. With Fresh Stop Markets, we are creating an alternative food system that relies on connections between neighborhood leaders and other “shareholders,” local, organic farmers, and host sites (which are mostly churches, but also include a few community centers and one business). We see ourselves as helping to create a food justice movement here in Kentuckiana and beyond, not simply implementing projects. We are changing the perception that local, organic food is only for those with high income, or that all families facing limited resources don’t want to eat fresh food, or that they are somehow to blame for what we believe are structural and systemic inequalities in our food system. We believe that fresh food is a basic human right.
New Roots also does other things, including co-creating Food Justice Workshops, the Fresh Stop Training Institute (FSTI), festivals and special events, and the Gendler Grapevine Interfaith Food Justice Initiative. Finally, we raise money (donate here!) for operation of the Fresh Stop Markets, we speak locally, nationally and internationally on behalf of food justice, and help to push and advocate for policies that we see as barriers to access to fresh food for All.
Are all the Fresh Stops in Kentucky and southern Indiana connected?
All 17 Fresh Stop Markets in Kentucky and southern Indiana operate under the New Roots “umbrella.” However, the Lexington Fresh Stop Markets are driven by local leaders from the Tweens Coalition and communities surrounding the Fresh Stop Markets, the North Fork Fresh Stop Market is driven by community members from Hazard, and our Brandenburg Fresh Stop Market is also locally driven. New Roots never pushes our way into a community. Rather, we wait to be asked to help share knowledge with leaders in communities that face fresh food insecurity and are searching for allies to help make a change. New Roots consults on the creation of the Fresh Stop Markets, shares knowledge on the nuts and bolts of Fresh Stop Market organizing through the FSTI, and helps to fund the start up costs, if we are able.
What about the Fresh Stops outside of Kentucky?
New Roots has helped to start Fresh Stop Markets in Washington, DC and Indianapolis; however, these Fresh Stops Markets operate independently from New Roots and utilize a different model. We are hoping to pilot a Fresh Stop Market in a new region in 2018 and have received start up money from Southern SARE to explore a relationship with leaders and farmers in the southern region.
Where did the Fresh Stop model originate?
City Fresh of Cleveland, Ohio founded the first Fresh Stop Markets. City Fresh mentored New Roots Executive Director Karyn Moskowitz, who brought the model to Louisville.
Do Fresh Stop Markets operate year-round?
While it is our vision to encourage Fresh Stop Markets to operate year-round, we are limited by the Kentucky growing season and resources. This year (2018) we are piloting four May spring Markets at the Gendler Grapevine Fresh Stop Market @ the J and the Shawnee Fresh Stop Market.
Fresh Stop Market Shares
What is a share?
A share is a bounty of fresh, local, all organic seasonal vegetables and a mix of local, organic and conventionally grown fruit purchased by Fresh Stop Market participants (shareholders). A share consists of ten varieties from some combination of our 50 local farmers.
Is all Fresh Stop Market food organic?
Most Fresh Stop Market farmers are certified organic farmers and all grow utilizing organic methods, except for some of our fruit farmers. Some fruit, such as apples and peaches, are very difficult to grow organically in Kentucky because of the moist climate. Our blueberries and watermelon are organic. When we do purchase fruit (strawberries for example) that has been sprayed, it is usually sprayed in very limited quantities before fruits come out, and we pass the information on to shareholders.
Do Fresh Stop Markets connect to farmers with food other than produce?
Yes. In 2018, all Fresh Stop Markets will have a select amount of free-range Grass Corp eggs from Leopold, Indiana. We are also exploring a relationship with the Berry Center and Home Place Meats in Henry County, Kentucky to bring more local beef to the Fresh Stop Markets.
Do shareholders get to decide what is in each share?
Community members sit down with farmers in January to engage in a back and forth dialogue about what the farmer can grow and what the community likes to eat. Fresh Stop Market veggies range from the exotic (heirloom tomatoes and white Hakurei turnips) to basics like corn and greens. When the season starts, Fresh Stop Market farmer liaison team members purchase according to what is in season and what has been forecasted.
Will the Fresh Stop Markets have (insert name of any exotic fruit or vegetable here) available?
Fresh Stop Market produce is nearly 100 percent locally sourced from within a 100 mile radius of Louisville. We will likely never have tropical produce available, but we do occasionally score pawpaws, strawberries, watermelon, and other relatively native fruits.
Help! I don’t know what to do with all of this fresh food!
Not to worry! Chefs at each Fresh Stop Market perform cooking demos on-site, and shareholders are able to reach out to the cooks and their fellow shareholders for guidance. New Roots volunteers are also available to share tips about cooking and storing the produce. We will not let you leave the Fresh Stop Market until you are ready to conquer the contents of your share basket! We are always a phone call away if you have questions.
Can I purchase produce without pre-ordering/pre-paying?
Sometimes the Markets do order some extra shares for purchasing on the spot. However, you will likely not be able to purchase a full share on the spot, unless one of our shareholders does not show up to claim their share. There is, however, a small amount of produce that is sold on the “extras” table at each Fresh Stop Market (There is no refund for shareholders who do not show up to claim their shares).
Can anyone purchase shares at a Fresh Stop Market?
Fresh Stop Market shares are offered on a sliding pay scale. Fresh Stop Market shares are primarily for families meeting limited-resource classification, according to WIC eligibility guidelines; however, 30 percent of the shares at each Fresh Stop Market are offered to higher income families. The sliding scale helps to put more money in the pot so all can eat. Anyone from any neighborhood can attend any Fresh Stop Market.
Do I have to commit to the Fresh Stop Market for the entire season?
No. You only have to purchase your share 3-5 days ahead of time (varies with Fresh Stop Market). When you pick up your share, you will be asked if you would like to purchase a share for the next Fresh Stop Market.
What about volunteering? Can I bring a big group one day to help out?
Fresh Stop Markets are very different than a typical service project. Fresh Stop Markets are almost 100 percent driven by volunteers from the surrounding community who commit their time and passion to building this movement. Some volunteers do come from outside the neighborhood and are welcome. All of our volunteers are shareholders. We feel it is important that everyone showing up at a Fresh Stop Market go home with the same food, in order to build community and eliminate the dichotomy we often see at food pantries, where volunteers and eaters are separate. While we welcome all volunteers, we ask that if you want to get involved, that you become a shareholder and stick around for the long term change we all want to see.
Starting a Fresh Stop Market
How are Fresh Stop sites chosen?
Neighborhoods interested in forming a Fresh Stop Market approach New Roots, often through churches, community centers, housing authorities or other places where people congregate. We require a commitment of at least twelve committed leaders to come to the table to help create, operate and sustain the Fresh Stop Market a year in advance of the growing season. New Roots helps with the organizing to pull together the leadership team.
What are the other requirements of a Fresh Stop Market site?
Besides buy-in of leaders (this is a big one!) and a site that is available both rain and shine (preferably outdoors) we require that each site be located in a USDA-certified Food Desert,* or close to one, become SNAP certified, offer shares on a sliding scale (30% low-income/70% higher income), and offer some sort of food justice workshops (or partner with another site to sponsor classes).
(*We utilize the term “food desert” here although we do not agree with the use of this word, as it defines a neighborhood as being “without” or somehow “lacking” or “deficient.” Instead, we believe that neighborhood leaders bring valuable experience, knowledge and expertise to this movement. “Food deserts,” may be lacking in good food, but are fertile grounds for food justice leaders). For more on this topic please see Heather Hyden’s excellent award-winning Master’s Thesis published in early 2017 from the University of Kentucky.
What is a food justice workshop?
Food justice workshops are opportunities for Fresh Stop Market shareholders as well as allies and other members of the community to come together to share food stories and knowledge. There is no set curriculum, just questions facilitators ask to get conversations going about the state of food justice in our community, from different perspectives. We share food stories and gather ideas.
Why are many Fresh Stop Markets hosted at churches? Is this a faith-based initiative?
New Roots is not a faith-based initiative. Churches are often hubs for organizing, breaking bread together, and pursuing mission and outreach work in the community. Many leaders of churches in food insecure neighborhoods feel it is their obligation to connect to those families in the community who want access to affordable, fresh food. Synagogues and mosques act as sites for our food justice workshops and other events.
How does New Roots connect with farmers?
We stalk them! No seriously, we meet farmers through weekly visits to farmers’ markets around Louisville and word of mouth.
How is New Roots funded?
Shareholders fund their own Fresh Stop Market shares, with the exception of Makeba Lee Fund (for families on WIC). Other project costs are funded by grants and donations from individuals like you.
Can I volunteer?
Most of our volunteer leaders are shareholders and live in the neighborhoods most affected by food insecurity. Please feel free to give us a call and see how you can become part of the Fresh Stop Market community.
It is difficult to part with $$6/12/$25/$40 to purchase something that I haven’t yet seen.
We understand. However, once you get in the groove of the growing season, you will see that your money will strengthen the power of the group to bring beautiful, fresh produce into the bellies of your family and the broader community. Your life will be transformed as you eat your way through your share—Greens for breakfast! Radishes for snacks!—and you will never turn back. Trust in the power of community.
Does everyone get the same food?
Yes! No matter what you pay, everyone gets to share equally in the bounty. No one is turned away for lack of resources.
Is a share prepacked?
No. Leaders set up the Market outside (weather permitting), or inside if it is raining or too hot. Each of the ten varieties of veggies or fruits gets its own table, with a sign that explains what the variety is, how many to take, what farmer grew it, and what county it is from. You have the fun of picking out the exact tomato you want, or the right size zucchini. In a perfect organizing world, each table also has a veggie “cheerleader” or advocate who advocates on behalf of that produce, and gets conversations going about preparation and storage. Shareholders are greeted and checked off the list (everyone has pre-paid), asked if they want to pay for next time (in two weeks), given a bag (free for your first time) and a Beet Beat Newsletter. Then, you can go around the tables and put your share together. Everyone is encouraged to take everything. Finally, a volunteer chef is waiting to serve you a taste (vegan and free of any sweeteners) of what is in your share.
What if I don’t like a veggie?
Take it anyway! Give it to your mom, your neighbor, your sister. Spread the love that is local, organic agriculture.
Does New Roots co-create Fresh Stop Markets in communities outside of Kentucky and southern Indiana?
New Roots and Fresh Stop Market leaders all over the state and southern Indiana are in the process of creating the a process for replicating our model. We have documented many of the processes and the nuts and bolts that are absolutely necessary to build a sustainable model but now must roll up our sleeves and collectively decide how to fund the expansion and pass on the model. Our goal is to be ready by 2019 to enter at least one new market. At this point, we have a waiting list of ~five cities that have shown interest. If you want more information, please call Karyn Moskowitz at 502-509-6770, ext. 4.
For more information and a full list of our Fresh Stop Market locations, please visit click here.