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SPRINGFIELD — State Sen. Eric Lesser was joined by state Rep. Bud Williams and Jodi Manning, manager of the Farmers’ Market at Forest Park, to announce $75,000 in funding secured to support staffing, website development, outreach, and education for the Farmers’ Market. Lesser acted as lead sponsor in the Senate, securing this state funding in the ARPA spending bill signed into law last week.

“The Farmers’ Market at Forest Park is a vital resource for a traditionally underserved part of our community,” Lesser said. “This funding will allow the market to continue its mission to combat food insecurity while providing an opportunity for our community to access fresh and healthy food year round at an affordable price — and in a way that incentivizes supporting our local farms.

Williams added that “this pandemic has pulled back the veil for a lot of insecurities within our society, and food insecurity is one of them. I’ve been coming to the Farmers’ Market for over 20 years, and it does what it’s designed to do, fresh produce in food.”

Manning noted that “the role Massachusetts farmers markets play in combating food insecurity is largely unknown. We are extremely grateful to Senator Lesser for recognizing the market’s importance, and for his advocacy. This funding will allow us to improve accessibility of fresh and healthy food to our more vulnerable residents in the community, all while supporting local agriculture.”

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