SPOTLIGHT: Everyone's Harvest
Everyone’s Harvest connects fresh food with people, regardless of their income level.
By David Schmalz
Six days a week, from Alisal to Pacific Grove, Everyone’s Harvest puts on a farmers market in Monterey County—not just to facilitate the sale of fresh produce, but to show that healthy food is medicine.
Everyone’s Harvest turns 21 this year, and Executive Director Hester Parker says one big push for 2024 is making sure the nonprofit’s newest market, which opened in Seaside in June, sticks, unlike the previous Seaside market on Broadway that fiz
zled out after a year. “That farmers market is not going away,” Parker says of the new Seaside location. “We’re in there for a long haul.”
But the Big Idea for Everyone’s Harvest, like every year, is to stay core to its mission of creating a circular community that connects food with people, where people who are on the ground helping to grow fruit and vegetables can take home some of the bounty they help bring to the table. More than half the vendors at the nonprofit’s markets sell organic produce, but what really separates Everyone’s Harvest from other markets is that, through their “Market Match” program, they help people using EBT cards with an up to $30 match for purchases of fresh produce.
Parker says the nonprofit’s markets serve about 800 families in Salinas between its Alisal, Natividad and Salinas Valley Health markets. The latter two partner with Everyone’s Harvest in its “FreshRX” program, where doctors “prescribe” fruits and vegetables to patients to improve their health. To date, the nonprofit has facilitated the sale of over $600,000 in produce through the program.
It’s also focused on connecting farmers with local customers—about a third of vendors are graduates of Salinas-based nonprofit ALBA (Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association).
They’re also expanding their reach: In October, Everyone’s Harvest launched a partnership with North County Recreation and Park District and Blue Zones Monterey County to make fresh produce more accessible to those purchasing it with subsidized incentives. “The majority of patients using Fresh RX are involved in the ag businesses in some way,” Parker says. “It’s a real honor to help these families.”
That’s the spirit of Everyone’s Harvest—everyone is invited to the table.