New Eggleston Farmer’s Market hopes to bridge food desert and unemployment

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – The opening of a New Farmer’s Market in a Norfolk neighborhood will help fill the gaps in the community.

On Friday, Eggleston opened a farmer’s market next to its famous garden centre.

For 65 years, the non-profit organization has provided services to people with disabilities. The market is their new business.

“We have been running a commercial garden center for 15 years here at this location and saw an opportunity to expand and offer produce and produce sourced from local farmers and vendors in the area. Everything is made in Virginia. We have partnered with local farmers and are delighted to offer produce here in Norfolk in an area that doesn’t have many opportunities for fresh produce,” said Paul Atkinson, CEO of Eggleston.

The Farmer’s Market opened in the building that previously housed Clementine’s Restaurant at Riverview.

Atkinson says customers missed having local produce and the area was a food desert.

“There are some in this local community who don’t have transportation and the ability for them to have good, fresh, healthy food is what we want to be: a resource,” he said. .

Market money, which will be available year-round, will go to employees, who are part of the community served by Eggleston.

“Historically, approximately 75% of people with disabilities in our country are unemployed. We try to provide opportunities for people with disabilities who want to transition from entitlement and government benefits to work. We want to pave the way for that and provide people with purpose and employment opportunities to fully participate in their community,” Atkinson said.

Employees like Larry Guynn, who has worked in Eggleston for 30 years and lives in the community, think people will enjoy coming to the market and buying fresh produce. Guynn works at the garden center and grows some of the vegetables that will be sold.

“I’m proud that people buy my products,” Guynn said.

The center is open Tuesday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

James V. Payne