Farmers' Market On University Campus
Every Thursday from 4pm to 7pm, a farmers' market is set up between Mershon Auditorium and Sullivant Hall, at an outdoor space known as the Wexner Center Plaza and it's attracting a growing crowd as summer moves on. The market will run weekly until the end of October. This weekly event is called Market at 15th and High and is part of a community-wide food outreach initiative. Already, the benefits of the market are evident to diverse members of the community.
Students who live on campus without a car can now buy fresh produce, allowing them the option of enjoying a personally cooked meal instead of relying on campus dining offerings 3 meals a day, 7 days a week.
Students, faculty and staff get fresh produce, vendors get 100 percent of sales profits for having hauled their goods to sell in the market; it's a beneficial set-up from any angle.
Apart from fresh produce such as corn on the cob, all sorts of ripe and colorful fruits, numerous summer squashes, eggplant, bulb goodness like garlic and onions, and a robust variety of greens, the market also offers buyers freshly made baked goods (bread, pretzels, etc.), fresh cut flowers, cheese, eggs, meat, and much more.
Vendors like the Speckled Hen Farm Gourmet Poultry sells hormone-free, antibiotic-free, pesticide free, free range chickens at the North Market and the Worthington Farmers' Market, but for anyone who lives on campus without a car and without the time to take the bus, having a farmers' market on campus once a week is a godsend.
Adding to the aspect of community outreach, many vendors accept food stamps and WIC coupons. The market also donates remaining produce to Neighborhood Service Food Pantries each week to further reduce waste.
In addition to community outreach, the market is set up to promote the history of agricultural diversity and accessibility by introducing local buyers to everything that local farmers produce.
This market was created from the collaboration between the Wexner Center's education director, Shelly Casto, and Jamie Moore, co-owner of the Wayward Seed Farm. With support from the College of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences. Such a collaboration shows not just interest in fresh local foods, but creative initiative on the part of those who made it happen. Kudos to all those involved for bringing to life the concept of healthy foods and vibrant communities.
Seeing that America has over 500 universities nationwide, wouldn't it be fantastic if every campus had a similar farmers' market that fosters community interests while it makes fresh and local produce accessible to those on and off campus?