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OHIO Farmer’s Market kicks off March 18 with expanded hours, new location

Ohio University’s Campus Involvement Center is ushering in the start of spring with some big changes to its popular OHIO Farmer’s Market.

The spring semester OHIO Farmer’s Market kicks off Friday, March 18, on the Athens Campus with expanded days and hours and in a new location. While past OHIO Farmer’s Markets have been held every other Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in various locations on the Athens Campus, this semester’s market will be held every Friday through April 22 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Lindley Park at President and South Court Streets.

An opportunity for members of the Ohio University and local community to purchase locally-grown produce, freshly baked goods and handmade crafts in an atmosphere designed to foster community engagement, the OHIO Farmer’s Market is sponsored by the Campus Involvement Center’s Office of Community Engagement. The market is open to all Ohio University students, faculty and staff, as well as area residents. 

According to Barb Harrison, assistant director of the Campus Involvement Center, the OHIO Farmer’s Market days and hours of operation were expanded in response to requests from both the market’s vendors and its shoppers. The location was moved from Oasis Park at the top of Morton Hill after Culinary Services’ Hungry Cat food truck established its permanent location in that area.

“We’re hoping that the expanded hours and new location will attract more shoppers and more vendors,” Harrison said.

The OHIO Farmer’s Market serves as a mini version of the Athens Farmers Market, a community mainstay showcasing area farmers, orchardists, specialty food producers, bakers, horticulturalists and a plethora of other food-based entrepreneurs. A point of local pride, the Athens Farmers Market has been serving the community since 1972 and currently operates out of The Market on State at 1000 E. State St. 

This semester, approximately six to eight vendors, including several from the Athens Farmers Market, are expected to participate in the OHIO Farmer’s Market. Among them are:

  • Sarah’s Sweets, offering a variety of flavors of fudge, hand-dipped chocolates and other confections
  • Crumb’s Bakery, an Athens-based, worker-owned business specializing in breads, pastries, pastas and other baked goods
  • The Salsa Guy, offering a wide variety of gourmet salsas
  • Erin Hogan of Squeaky Duck Farmstead, selling a variety of greens and other produce grown without chemical fertilizers and pesticides
  • Heather Irwin, providing a selection of homemade jellies and jams as well as crocheted items
  • Peaceful by Nature Farm, offering homemade goat milk soap in a variety of scents as well as unscented
  • Sassafras Farms, selling a variety of vegetables, herbs and other produce grown without agricultural chemicals
  • Community Food Initiatives’ Donation Station, which accepts financial donations to purchase food from the Athens Farmers Market and collects local food donations to distribute to food pantries and agencies serving those in need

The Office of Community Engagement will provide updates and information about the OHIO Farmer’s Market, including information on vendors expected to participate each week, on its Facebook page.

“It’s always really neat to see students experience these local vendors and really appreciate their products,” Harrison said, noting that the OHIO Farmer’s Market fits with the Office of Community Engagement’s mission of helping Ohio University students engage with the greater community. “And in Athens, what better way to foster that engagement than to bring the market to campus since the Athens Farmers Market is such a stronghold in the community?”

Harrison said she hopes the OHIO Farmer’s Market experience also affects the choices students will make as consumers once they leave the Athens Campus.

“I hope our students take away from this market an appreciation for our local community here and the idea of local economy in general and that it’s important to support your local economy, especially when it comes to food production,” Harrison said. “We know that eating local is healthier and that it helps the local economy. This market, hopefully, will help students commit to eating local and supporting markets wherever they go.”

In addition to experiencing the market as shoppers, students may also volunteer to help with the market, assisting vendors with setting up and taking down their booths. Volunteer opportunities are posted on the Office of Community Engagement’s OrgSync page.  

Ohio University alumna Tracy Kelly began the OHIO Farmer’s Market in the fall of 2010 while serving as president of Graduate Student Senate. Sponsorship of the market has since transferred to the Office of Community Engagement within OHIO’s Division of Student Affairs. The markets are held in partnership with OHIO’s Office of Sustainability and with support from the city of Athens. 

For more information about the OHIO Farmer’s Market, including requests from vendors interested in participating, contact Barb Harrison at harrisob@ohio.edu.