UTSA alumnus creates first local farmers market

Farmers market copy

UTSA graduate and Sam Houston High School World Geography teacher Rick Trevino is bringing Eastside Pride Market to the city’s food desert.

“Why not bring a farmers market to the East Side, and not just any farmers market ­— there is nothing unique about that — what will make it unique is we establish a Double Up on Food Bucks program,” thought Trevino after hearing about the program on NPR.

The federal program Double Up on Food Bucks was created to promote healthier food choices to lower-income families and underserved communities. The program doubles the SNAP funds for approved fruits and vegetables at participating Farmers Markets. Originating in New York, Double Up on Food Bucks has extended to a handful of other states. However the program has not reached Texas, and Trevino is ready to change that.

To get San Antonio involved, Trevino knew he needed to convince the Eastside Promise Neighborhood program to support a new farmers market for the community. Eastside Promise Neighborhood is a community program that works with about 18,000 San Antonio’s citizens facing poverty and promotes housing, education and health.

“It turns out that they were already thinking about a farmers market, they just haven’t done the lay work,” said Trevino. Trevino turned to his class for aid when he created a lesson plan to research on the East Side’s food desert dilemma.

Food deserts are an urban community predicament where certain communities face limited availability to quality produce. Food deserts face four problems: high poverty, scarce grocery stores, poor food quality and low vehicle access. The proposed farmers market only takes care of the first three problems, but Trevino isn’t going to exclude the fourth. Right now he is in the process of collaborating with Meals-on-Wheels and Earn-A-Bike to get food delivered to those who are homebound.

Along with another teacher’s geometry class, the team put together a proposal for the Eastside Promise Neighborhood, where they presented them with a location that will have an impact on the community and the students of Sam Houston. With hardly any hesitation, the Eastside Promise Neighborhood and the San Antonio Food bank will now fund the market for the next six months.

Trevino’s next move is to attract the Double Up on Food Bucks program to their market. Having already applied for the grant, Trevino hopes by June the program will comply. “I don’t want a six month program — I want a six decade program, and there is no reason why it can’t be that way,” said Trevino.

Mayoral candidates have also shown their support in Trevino’s cause. Leticia Van de Putte stated in her Public Health-And Wellness policy, proposing that the city “test programs like Sam Houston High School’s community garden plots and Farmer’s Market and see if they are successful at finding ways to spread such locally based initiatives throughout the city.”