Director of Santa Cruz Farmers’ Markets Receives Community Heroes Award

In 2013 Nesh Dhillon is Honored by the Community Assessment Project

 By Nicole Zahm

December 19, 2013

Santa Cruz, CA – Each year the United Way and their Community Assessment Project honors a selection of local, community heroes – individuals whose efforts have helped Santa Cruz County move toward the achievement of specified community goals. An important goal, formally established in 2013, is the development of a local, sustainable food system defined as a place in which all community members have access to affordable, locally grown food produced in a sustainable manner that preserves farmland fertility. In October, 2013 Nesh Dhillon was acknowledged as an individual spearheading these efforts.

Nesh Dhillon has worked for the Santa Cruz Community Farmers’ Markets (SCCFM) for 12 years and served as the director for 10. Under his direction, the market has expanded from two to five county markets and now accepts EBT, WIC and Senior Nutrition Coupons in order to increase access and affordability of market produce for low-income residents. In addition, Nesh has coordinated the Market Match program at two market locations to offer monetary incentives for customers who shop with their EBT cards to encourage CalFresh (food stamps) recipients to take advantage of fresh, locally-grown fruits and vegetables. By offering programs that lower the price of fresh produce, the Farmers’ Market is helping shoppers stretch their food dollars while keeping their families healthy. These programs result from the shared vision of Nesh and the SCCFM Board which is made up of farmers and food artisans of SCCFM and allied community members.

This award is a clear statement that the further development of a local, sustainable food system is at the forefront of a broad vision for Santa Cruz County and, that the Santa Cruz Community Farmers’ Markets are understood to be at the helm of this progress.

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