ONEIDA (NBC 26) — The Oneida Nation recently received a $50,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for their Farmers Market Project.
The grant includes money to promote the Oneida Farmers Market. Oneida Farmers Market Organizer Bill Ver Voort said some of the promotion has already begun. He's putting up three billboards in the Green Bay area and hiring someone to grow their social media presence.
"The intent is to expand our market, increase our vendor number, increase the vendor income, increase the customer count and also increase our educational opportunities to educate the community about health and food," Ver Voort said.
The market runs June through September every year and sees around 50 vendors and more than 600 customers. Lisa Hubbard has been selling gluten-free cookies with Mama Hubbard's Cupboard for almost a decade at the market and said the grant is important.
"I'm excited to see what we can do with it," Hubbard said. "It helps the other vendors and all the vendors to keep producing what they want instead of supporting big box stores."
Ver Voort said the goal of the grant is to support the market's main mission: a healthy community. According to Ver Voort, 30% of Oneida Nation members have diabetes, obesity or heart disease due to diet, and this number is only increasing, especially in children.
"Health is such an important part of our lives, and food is such an important part of our health," Ver Voort said. "To really have sustainable change, it always has to start with the kids...30, 40, 50 year olds, their eating habits are already solid, but if we can get the kids to eat healthy early, it should carry on with them for the rest of their life."
Ver Voort said the market welcomes everyone from all communities and anyone can practice healthy habits. He plans to continue to implement the grant and said he is excited to see the positive impact it will have on the market and community.