Members of the new Local Fresh Thursdays initiative (from L-R) are Tony DeLuca, Katie Drake, Jovanna Mueller, and Jordyan Mueller. Amidst challenging times and circumstances, a great idea was born Local Fresh Thursdays is a seasonal, hyper-local, open-air food market and a program of the YMCA Community Co-Op of Little Falls. This idea began as a way to cultivate relationships around fresh, local produce and other goods that contribute to the overall health of Little Falls and builds on the momentum of LF Volunteer Corps, which works to bring individuals and organizations together to develop opportunities to benefit the community. Local Fresh Thursdays will run every Thursday from 4-7 pm in Burke Park (Western Park) on the corner of Ann and Gansevoort Streets starting this Thursday, June 18th until Thursday, October 1st. One of the organizers, Gail Rochette said, “The Local Food Incubator board members believe that the local food system will be enhanced by an additional farmer’s market in Little Falls. Carefully curated and vetted, Local Fresh Thursday’s farmers and vendors will be bringing a variety of goods for sale, thus stimulating the local economy and ultimately bringing our community together in yet another positive way. James Beard once said, “Food is a common ground, a universal experience.” This is an opportunity for diverse and inclusive economic, social, and volunteerism growth all set in one of our city’s beautiful green spaces.” The objectives of Local Fresh Thursdays are to expand access to fresh, locally sourced produce and goods; ease food insecurity; educate, and create a sustainable food movement to promote a healthier community. Local Fresh Thursdays is a program of the YMCA Community Co-op of Little Falls, representing their affordable, natural, wholefoods mission. This is a partnership with the City of Little Falls and its Tourism Committee, local agricultural community, local producers, artisans, and volunteers. Mayor Mark Blask commented, “The City of Little Falls is excited to support and welcome Local Fresh Thursdays. Thanks to the community for coming up with this idea and the volunteers helping to execute yet another reason to visit our great community. I invite everyone in the Valley to come out on Thursdays to see all the great offerings we have in store.” This is a community event and there is a great reason to get behind this food movement. If you or someone you know is interested in volunteering for the event please check out the various ways you can dedicate your time and sign up at Bonus incentive: if you sign up to work at least 2 markets per month – you can receive 15% off purchases at the Community Co-op. Jovanna Mueller is the 2020 Local Fresh Thursday Market Manager, and she said, “When I decided to move from Colorado back home to Little Falls, I got really excited and inspired after hearing about all the wonderful community projects and events going on. When I heard about Local Fresh, I knew right away that I wanted to step up and get involved. Events like this bring people closer, help us to feel more connected to one another and help make locally sourced produce and goods more accessible to everyone in our community.” COVID-19 safety requirements are a large priority this year and the Local Fresh Thursdays Board of Directors is working hard to ensure this will be a safe, fun weekly event that complies with all federal and local safety standards. For the 2020 season, we will have a limited number of vendors in order to comply with regulations. Local Fresh Thursdays will require all attendees to wear masks while at the event. Additional information on the COVID-19 safety protocol for Local Fresh Thursday will be displayed during the event as well. Next year, we plan to broaden the event and will take applications, to bring even more local growers, producers, and artisans to the event. We are just so excited to launch the first Local Fresh Thursday and we sure hope to see you there! If you have feedback or questions, please contact