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A Garden Grows in Dorchester

Bowdoin Geneva Farmer's Market will include youth-grown produce

BOSTON - Tomatoes, lettuce and beans have begun to sprout in the Stonehurst/Norton Community Garden, located down the street from the Bowdoin Street Health Center in Dorchester. In a few weeks, produce from that garden will be for sale at the Bowdoin Geneva Farmers Market.

The third annual farmers market launched last Thursday with produce from area farms - as well as music, dance, face painting and a Tae Kwan Do demonstration. The market will run Thursday afternoons from 3-6:30 p.m. until October.

Last April, hand-selected youth became caretakers for their own plot of land at the garden, says Healthy Champions program coordinator Jen French, who works with the neighborhood youth to help them plant, grow and harvesting their own produce.

"The garden teaches them about the vast benefits of incorporating healthy and affordable foods into their daily lives," she says. "At the same time, they will help educate their peers in how these foods will serve to reduce prevalent health issues such as obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and asthma in their neighborhood."

This collaboration among youth, staff, The Food Project, the Boston Natural Areas Network and community residents comes together in the farmers market, which operates out of the health center's parking lot.

The Bowdoin Geneva Farmers Market was launched in response to community concern about a lack of access to healthy food. Every Thursday afternoon from July through October fresh, local produce is available at affordable prices. EBT, WIC and Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Coupons are accepted. The market also participates in Mayor Menino's Bounty Bucks program, providing a 50 percent discount to shoppers paying with their EBT card.

The Bowdoin Street Health Center is a member of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center's Community Care Alliance of health centers, including  The Dimock Center in Roxbury;  South Cove Community Health Center in Chinatown and Quincy; the  Joseph M. Smith Community Health Center of Allston and Waltham; Fenway Health; the  Sidney Borum Jr. Health Center of Boston and Outer Cape Health Services of Wellfleet and Provincetown.

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a patient care, teaching and research affiliate of Harvard Medical School, and consistently ranks among the top four in National Institutes of Health funding among independent hospitals nationwide. BIDMC is clinically affiliated with the Joslin Diabetes Center and is a research partner of Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center. BIDMC is the official hospital of the Boston Red Sox. For more information, visit .