Having access to affordable, healthy food is important for physical, mental and emotional health. Erie County has 12 food deserts – areas where at least 1/3 of residents live more than 1 mile from the nearest grocery store or supermarket. Businesses, non-profits and community organizations are working hard to address this growing problem. For example, over a dozen local corner stores are participating in the Pennsylvania Healthy Corner Store Initiative. These stores have committed to selling healthier food options, such as fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-sodium canned goods and lean proteins. The map below shows food desert locations, participating Healthy Corner Stores and Community Gardens.
There are also numerous community gardens located throughout our beautiful city, as well as others located in areas throughout the county. Community gardens allow individuals and families to get involved in community gardens and receive a portion of the harvest for helping and working in the garden during the growing season. Many community gardens work with Master Gardeners from the Penn State Cooperative Extension to provide the needed education and instruction on how to make the gardens grow successfully. Many gardens also donate portions of the harvest to local food pantries and food banks, helping those most in need to also have healthy foods.
To increase access to healthy foods, we have compiled a list of area farmers markets and farm stands, pick-your-own farms, and options for community supported agriculture (CSA), along with area community gardens (see lists below). Use the "Farm or Market" or "Gardens" tab to search listings.
*These listings are currently being updated and information is subject to change. If you know of community gardens or farmers markets/farm stands that are not on these lists, or if any information needs corrected, please email ECDHinfo@eriecountypa.gov and we will work to update these lists.
For technical assistance or resources to start a community garden, please contact the Erie Community Garden Coalition at ErieGardenCoalition@gmail.com.