Feeling secure about food

On the one-year anniversary of creating a food security program on the eve of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Pioneer Bay Community Development Corporation is about to expand even further in the weeks ahead.

First begun three years ago, with a mission to contribute to the redevelopment of North Port St. Joe, the non-profit Pioneer stepped up its outreach regarding food delivery after it received a six-month grant from the Jesse Ball duPont Fund.

“We recognized that our seniors and disabled adults in North Port Saint Joe were most at risk for contracting COVID-19,” said Cheryl Steindorf, vice chair of the Pioneer Bay CDC. “It’s been almost a year since we began delivering food and cleaning products to 90 families. We have many people to thank for their time and resources as we move forward in a quest for community food security.

“By our delivering to seniors, we’ve actually helped them stay in home more,” she said.

A subsequent $48,000 grant from the duPont Fund has led to the creation of the Farmacy, a farm to table fresh produce store supplied by the Barnharts in Monticello. The farmers take part in Port St. Joe’s Salt Air market, and twice a month deliver to Farmacy, to stock the delivery and in-house operations.

“I got that name because when I was looking at Facebook, there was one located in Tallahassee, and I liked it and I stole it,” she said.

The Farmacy is now at work securing equipment through a grant to take Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) clients, which Steindorf expects to be up and running for these food stamp clients on May 21.

“The ultimate goal for our community is that after we’ve sold enough produce to SNAP clients, then we will qualify for the Fresh Bucks program through the state of Florida,” she said. “This is a grant that for every dollar that a SNAP client spends on fresh produce, they get a dollar back. With Fresh Bucks, for every dollar, they get twice as much produce.

“It’s a benefit for the SNAP client and a huge benefit for the farmer,” Steindorf said.

Like so many food banks around the area, the Farmacy receives support from the Second Harvest of the Big Band for many of its grocery and household items.

Multiple uses for the building at 217 Avenue A are planned for the weeks and months ahead, with part to be used as a pop-up for local businesses.

Steindorf said in June Pioneer Bay plans to open a little restaurant for several days a week, to be run by Beverly Ash, a native of North Port St. Joe. Drawing on her mom’s recipes, she plans to call it “Mama Dot’s.”

In addition there will be a summer feeding program for schoolchildren, with plans also in the works for the county library to conduct summer activities there.

The Farmacy is open Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m. at its location at 217 Avenue A. For more information, call 850-227-5662.

Meet the Editor

David Adlerstein, The Apalachicola Times’ digital editor, started with the news outlet in January 2002 as a reporter.

Prior to then, David Adlerstein began as a newspaperman with a small Boston weekly, after graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He later edited the weekly Bellville Times, and as business reporter for the daily Marion Star, both not far from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, he moved to South Florida, and worked as a business reporter and editor of Medical Business newspaper. In Jan. 2002, he began with the Apalachicola Times, first as reporter and later as editor, and in Oct. 2020, also began editing the Port St. Joe Star.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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