A Community that Cooks Together, Thrives Together 

20 Jan 2023, by Admin in Harvest Blog, Harvest VISTA, Tacoma Farmers Market

Danyelle Neumann is an AmeriCorps member serving Tacoma Farmers Market as the Fresh Express Mobile Farmers Market VISTA in Washington. The overall goal of the Harvest VISTA program is to reduce food waste while increasing the amount of fresh nutritious produce available to people experiencing poverty by building capacity within sustainable gleaning, produce recovery, and other food system programs. Her service has been focused on bringing fresh fruit and vegetables to low-income communities where individuals and families can utilize the SNAP EBT incentive program. Her overall goal has been to alleviate poverty in Pierce County.

Cooking demonstrations are one way the Fresh Express Mobile Market (FEMM) engages with the community in which they serve. The main purpose of this event is to bring a local chef within the community to prepare a dish of their choice for visitors to the mobile markets. Another purpose is to highlight seasonal produce available when the demonstrations are to be held. Autumn is a great time to showcase root vegetables such as beets, carrots, and other vegetables such as cabbage and leeks.

During a mobile market, the chef prepares the dish right in front of the customers. They share information about how to prepare the dish, what ingredients they used, and answer any questions. The goal is to bring the community together and provide them with a healthy and nutritious dish. It also is a way to educate people about produce unfamiliar to them. 

Jan Parker Preparing a Vegetarian Fried Rice Meal
The Bay Terrace Site.

This past year Jan Parker, a well-known local chef, participated in two of the cooking demonstrations. Jan enjoys giving back to the community and celebrating bringing people together. Of Filipino descent, she grew up enjoying her mother’s cooking. During her preparation of fried rice, she used carrot tops as herbs to give her dish a unique and unusual flavor that everyone enjoyed. 

Jan lives and owns her own kitchen, Jan Parker Cookery in Tacoma, Washington.

The VISTA is in charge of obtaining food permits, marketing, and setting up for the event. These events are free for the public.