Five Points Farm Market Awarded $40,000 Grant from Bon Secours

The Five Points Community Farm Market, a 501(c) 3 community nonprofit, and Bon Secours Health System are pleased to announce that the health system’s Healthy Communities has awarded the farm market a $40,000 grant.

The funding will be used to build a 375-square-foot community kitchen in one corner of the Farm Market at 26th and Church streets. The Community Kitchen will provide the opportunity for individuals and small-food producers to create unique products in a professionally fitted commercial kitchen. It will be available for rent by the hour, day or week. Rates have not yet been determined.

“This is an exciting project not only because it is an innovative idea, but it also shows the power of partnerships when organizations join forces to benefit our citizens. I hope other community groups and businesses can learn from this,” said Norfolk Mayor-elect Kenneth Cooper Alexander.

People have already started to put their names down to use the kitchen. “We already have a waiting list of small-food producers who want to rent the Community Kitchen to create their own food products. The kitchen will also be used for cooking classes and pop-up events,” said Bev Sell, Farm Market Founder and General Manager. “This is another step in helping Norfolk become a healthier community.”

Plans include enclosing a section of the market into a separate area with a glass front half wall with sliding glass windows for easy viewing, equipment storage and a final design to match the market’s decor. Currently donated commercial equipment includes a convection oven, steamer, griddle top, cheese-melter, smoker and steam-jacketed kettle used for canning.

The kitchen will meet the City of Norfolk’s Health Department regulations, and those who use it will need to obtain proper certification. Information on certifications will be included in the Community Kitchen’s policies and procures for use.

The Five Points Community Farm Market has been working with Bon Secours for the past five years through Passport to Health, which helps to provide fresh produce to low-income families in the East Ocean View area. The Community Kitchen will host cooking classes for some of these participants, including teens from East Ocean View and other low-income communities. Part of the grant includes scholarship funds for teens in those communities to use of the kitchen. The concept is for the teens to be given a recipe, shown how to shop the market, then given the instruction on how to create that dish.

“Bon Secours Health System is committed to improving the overall health of the community,” said Michael K. Kerner, CEO, Bon Secours Hampton Roads Health System.  “We know that when people have better access to healthy food it’s a great start and that a community kitchen can have impact on encouraging those lifestyle changes.  That’s why we believe that supporting the work and partnering with Five Points can have a positive impact for our community.”

Sell agrees. “It’s all about empowering young people to make healthier choices,” Sell said. The general public also will be able to rent the Community Kitchen for canning fresh vegetables, baked goods and catering.

Other good news for the Five Points Community Farm Market:

•  For the second year in a row, Five Points has won “Best Farm Market” from Coastal Virginia Magazine’s Best-of Readers’ Choice Awards. The market’s Fresh Café also won “Best Locally Sourced Menu” from the magazine’s Readers’ Choice Award.

•  On Sunday, June 5, Big Ugly Brewery, 1296 S. Battlefield Blvd., Suite 104, Chesapeake, is hosting a fundraiser for Five Points Community Farm Market. Ten percent all of sales between noon and 5 p.m. will be used to purchase additional air conditioning for the market. The Get Fresh Cafe will provide the eats!