'Low income doesn't have to mean low nourishment'

      SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - The aroma of fresh basil, carrots and strawberries fill the air at a produce stand outside of Sacred Heart Medical Center- Riverbend.

      The stand is part of Food For Lane County's Youth Farm program.

      The program offers jobs to low income teens, who help to cultivate the crops.

      Most of that produce is then given to help feed those in need through Food For Lane County, but some of it is available for sale.

      The proceeds then go back into the program.

      Youth Farm Co-Manager Luna Sansone has worked at the farm for several years, and says the community has given the program a ton of support for something she believes is very important.

      "Low income doesn't have to mean low nourishment," says Sansone.

      The first stand of the year opened Thursday afternoon at 2, and before all of the produce were out and signage was up, about a dozen customers were already pouring through the goods.

      Luna says it's the sort of program that benefits everyone involved.

      "As a low income person myself, I've always benefited from places like this where I can find healthy food for an affordable price."

      Jean-Marie Spilker, assistant manager of the Springfield Youth Farm, says the program helps the community eat a little healthier, but it's also helpful for the students who help to grow the produce.

      "They get job experience, work experience, a little money, and they get to be a part of a crew."

      That's something Spilker says will help with their futures.

      "It's really excellent fodder for their resumes," she says.

      The produce stand will be operating outside of Riverbend by the emergency entrance every Thursday from 2-6pm through October.

      You can also buy produce at the Youth Farm every Saturday from 10-2, also through October.