Forrest Kesterson is one of Just Harvest’s most committed volunteers. Perhaps it’s because he credits our Fresh Access program for inspiring him to get involved in food justice and helping him have a healthy lifestyle.
Although those who know him may find it hard to believe, Forrest hasn’t always been immersed in the farmers market scene. His love for these markets began in 1980, when he was first acquainted with the one in his neighborhood. “Carrick was one of the first places to have a farmers market, and that’s what really introduced me to the market mindset,” he says. “It was a great resource for me.”
Kesterson was a long-time farmers market shopper when in 2013, he learned of Just Harvest’s new Fresh Access program, which is transforming area farmers markets from cash-only enterprises to ones where market shoppers can use credit, debit, or EBT/ACCESS cards. Forrest jumped at the opportunity to get involved by volunteering and using the Fresh Access program himself.
“I came down to the Market Square market after it opened last year to see what it was like, and there were four different organic farmers, so it was perfect for what I was looking for. So I started shopping there on a regular basis,” he says.
When he’s not juggling his time between helping out at the Carnegie Library in Carrick, at his market research job, or manning the Fresh Access booth at Market Square every Thursday, you can find Forrest shopping for his favorite market goods. “Garlic, broccoli, kale, spinach, green tomatoes, eggplant; I love to cook with all of those,” he said eagerly.
With a smile on his face and a light in his eyes, Forrest beams when talking about farmers markets. “Having the availability of fresh produce, having it in season, that it was picked that morning – it’s wonderful. It’s a little more powerful when it was picked that morning; it’s like I feel energized,” he said with a chuckle.
Forrest is also thankful that he’s a part of the Just Harvest team. “Just Harvest helps me channel my interests in helping people live a healthy lifestyle,” he says.