Brighton Farm Stand volunteers celebrated the successful season. (photo by Kelsey Shea)

by Kelsey Shea

On October 30, volunteers in Brightwood wrapped up the season with the final Brighton Farm Stand with a small celebration to recognize the success of the neighborhood project.

The farm stand was set up at the corner of Brighton Road and Lecky Avenue each Wednesday since mid-June and sold seasonal fruits and vegetables at nominal costs.

Farm stand's final spread
Farm stand’s final spread

“When we reached out, we didn’t know if this was possible. We didn’t know how it would go,” said organizer Ed Brandt. “It was a lot of fun and a lot of work.”

The farm stand saw 150-175 customers per week and nearly broke even on sales, which was the goal.

Volunteers were given golden gourdes as a thank you for their contributions.

At the stand’s closing celebration, organizers noted that the program not only distributed affordable, healthy food, but brought the community closer as well.

“This is how neighborhoods get better,” said Northside Leadership Conference Executive Director Mark Fatla. “It’s not about building and planting projects, but about building connections in the neighborhood… You built something beyond vegetables.”

The farm stand was organized by the Brightwood Civic Group and the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank of Western Pennsylvania.

Organizers are not sure what will happen to the farm stand for next year, because funding cuts have eliminated the program for the Food Bank’s budget.

The food bank continues to work with local farmers and program sponsors, and the BCG hopes to repeat the program in some form next summer.

“This has had a huge impact on the neighborhood,” said BCG staff person Melissa Gallagher. “People come hang out each week. We’d hate to lose it.”

“We’re keeping our fingers crossed,” said ‎Farm Stand Coordinator at Greater Pittburgh Food Bank Vicki Lish. “The possibilities are endless.”