We Are Lawrence

Lawrence farmers market expands as demand surges

Groundwork Lawrence's picture

LAWRENCE — A new state program that provides up to $80 a month in free food to poor families if they shop at farmers markets has tripled summer sales at the local market, causing the nonprofit that runs it to keep it open through the winter for the first time.

The state subsidies are intended to steer low-income families to food that is generally fresher and more nutritious than what's available at neighborhood bodegas or supermarkets and to help Massachusetts farmers compete against them, said Heather McMann, executive director of Groundwork Lawrence, which sponsors the local farmers market.

Making Massachusetts farmers more competitive also will make the state less dependent on fruits and vegetables flown or trucked in from states such as Florida and California, which will become less-reliable sources of food as global warming makes droughts, fires, hurricanes and freezes more frequent in those states, McMann said.