For Immediate Release: Monday, September 14, 2020

#FeelGoodFarmersMarket Made Possible through DCA’s Neighborhood Preservation Program; One of the Only Farmers Markets in the Region to Accept SNAP Benefits 

(Above) NPP Pleasantville hired paid interns from the community to help operate the farmers market.
(Below)The farmers market follows COVID-19 safe practices.

TRENTON, NJ – The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) is highlighting the #FeelGoodFarmersMarket, which is steadily growing in popularity since it kicked off in June 2020 in the City of Pleasantville’s downtown business district. Made possible with grant funding awarded to the City in 2019 through DCA’s Neighborhood Preservation Program (NPP), the farmers market is one of the few in the region to accept benefits from New Jersey residents and families who are enrolled in the State’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which is administered by the New Jersey Department of Human Services.

The farmers market, which is located at 18 North First Street next to City Hall, is actively working to ensure the locally grown produce and locally made goods sold at the market are affordable for all customers, especially since many people who live in Pleasantville and surrounding communities have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The market, which begins its fall season from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, September 19th, is also helping to support local farms and small businesses and ‘activating’ the downtown by attracting more people to visit.

“DCA applauds the effort and creativity of Pleasantville and its partners to start a farmers market from scratch with the mission of meeting the nutritional and financial needs of everyone in the community regardless of income level,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, who serves as DCA Commissioner. “It is so important for people to have access to fresh, nutritious food that is reasonably priced. If anything, the COVID-19 public health emergency has shown how vital it is for people to eat well and maintain a healthy lifestyle.”    

The City of Pleasantville is collaborating with Communities Revolutionizing Open Public Spaces (C.R.O.P.S), a nonprofit organization based in Atlantic City that is focused on empowering communities to set up farmers markets, community gardens, art and education programs centered around healthy living, to run the #FeelGoodFarmersMarket. To create a safe environment during the pandemic for customers, farmers, and vendors alike, face masks and hand sanitizer are always available at the C.R.O.P.S. table at the market. The market requires that everyone wear a mask or face covering that covers the nose and mouth.  Also, farmer and vendor tables are significantly spaced out to maintain safe social distance and SNAP currency vouchers are rotated so they can be kept sanitized. Additionally, the market allows customers to order online for a drive-up pickup.

Welcoming SNAP customers to the farmers market is helping families with low incomes buy nutritious foods and providing more shoppers for the farmers and vendors selling their produce and goods. It is also keeping the State’s allotment of federal SNAP dollars circulating to businesses in New Jersey and not given to chains and large corporations based out of the state.

“Giving people the option to redeem SNAP benefits at farmers markets is a win-win, enabling customers’ access to farm fresh produce and healthy foods while supporting our local farmers,” said NJ Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson. “SNAP is a key resource in helping to combat food insecurity during this public health emergency and farmers markets are well-positioned to help New Jersey families.”

“New Jersey is called the Garden State for its fresh produce and strong support for local farmers. NPP has afforded us the opportunity to sustain and empower small businesses and neighborhoods to promote healthy lifestyles, while encouraging our residents and visitors to come to our downtown business district, thus becoming a destination for surrounding areas,” said City of Pleasantville Mayor Jesse L. Tweedle Sr. “It is with great pleasure and gratitude that we are blessed to have these programs and opportunities during these difficult times.”

“Partnering with C.R.O.P.S was a win! It enabled us to bring a farmers market to the City of Pleasantville’s NPP district, which gives residents a sense of comfort to be able to walk or drive up to buy fresh produce and avoid the long lines in the larger grocery stores,” said Jacqueline Amando-Belton, NPP coordinator for the City of Pleasantville. “An exceeding number of local residents are becoming interested in buying their produce directly from local farmers. People enjoy the wholesome experiences of talking to farmers about what they grow, seeing their neighbors or friends out in the open air, listening to live music, and enjoying sights and smells of the market.”

Last year was the first time in 11 years that DCA awarded NPP grants. A total of $2.5 million in grant funding was awarded to 20 municipalities, including the City of Pleasantville. The grant funding was part of a larger effort by the Murphy Administration in 2019 to commit more resources to community revitalization programs that focus on small businesses and neighborhood improvement projects.

The 20 current NPP municipalities are leveraging their $2.5 million total grant allocation with an additional $2.85 million of non-NPP resources from local government, private businesses and property owners, foundations, counties, other grants, and sponsorships.

Since COVID-19 struck New Jersey, the NPP program has also supported grants for affected small businesses, local business gift-card programs, personal protective equipment for businesses, and outdoor dining equipment and facilities for restaurants.

The NPP program provides direct financial, tailored technical assistance, and robust training to the 20 municipalities to conduct activities that strengthen threatened but viable neighborhoods through local planning, community participation, and local investment.

The goal of the program’s longer-term commitment is to help towns build their local management capacity so that when the grant funding ends, they have the ability and the partnerships to sustain the work and keep making improvements. Municipal grantees must show a commitment of resources from the neighborhood and municipality, as well as support from community organizations and residents. 

For more information on NPP, visit

DCA offers a wide range of programs and services, including energy assistance, housing vouchers, affordable housing production, fire and building safety, community planning and development, local government management and finance, and disaster recovery. 

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Tammori Petty
Gina Trish
Lisa Ryan
(609) 292-6055