J500 Media and the Environment


She’ll be coming round the market when she comes… by kimwallace
February 20, 2008, 2:05 pm
Filed under: Food + Health, Local Events + Action | Tags: , , , , ,

farmers-market.jpg

Forge friendships while shopping for food at your local farmers’ market/ photo by Frank Thompson


Local farmers and artisans, please forgive me for this one:

After reading Local eating for global change, I thought that that tip number four, find your local farmers’ market, was a little too obvious. But then, it occurred to me—I’ve lived in Lawrence for close to four years, and I have yet to visit the Downtown Lawrence Farmers Market.

Guess I underestimated the power of being obvious.

It’s not that I don’t want to pay a little more for fresh, local-grown food. I usually allot more money for fruits and veggies, because I don’t enjoy licking pesticides.

It’s not that I don’t want to interact with enthusiastic members of the community. One of my favorite activities is strolling down Mass St. and seeing familiar faces. Lawrencians are also some of the most interesting people.

So what is it, then?

Local farmers and artisans, I’m biting my tongue at this one:

I never know when or where the markets are.

Guess I should have taken tip number four more seriously.

Sure, I know the market is downtown. But sometimes the locations change or hearsay gets the best of me.

Excuses, I know. Slap me in the face. Shake your heads at me. It’s only a Google search away. There’s probably a sign (albeit a small one) downtown. But somehow, someway, the DLFM is always an afterthought. But I’m willing to change that.

But then another thing catches me off-guard. As I continue to peruse the Web site, I notice something else that keeps me away from the market:

Come early to the Saturday Market and experience the ringing of the bell – the official opening of the market at 7:00 am.

I, and most college students like me, have never met 7 a.m. on a Saturday. Morning, to me, is about 11 a.m.—precisely when the market closes.

So what can students do to forge a connection with local produce markets? Last semester, a sociology class at KU analyzed reasons why students don’t make it to the Market. The primary concern was lack of information and conflicting time schedules.

Time schedules seems legit to me. But lack of information—that one baffles me now. The plethora of resources at my fingertips is amazing. I didn’t know other options for local food existed beyond The Merc!, the Market and Local Burger—but this is also coming from the person who never could pin down the right dates and times for the Market.

So, a solution?

KU students should reach out to the broader Lawrence community—which includes the Market. The DLFM should reach out to KU students—a niche group that is receptive to trends and the green movement. With the Center for Sustainability on campus and KU’s new focus on organic food in campus eateries, why not sponsor a Farmers Market day on campus this spring? Bring vendors to the heart of Lawrence—KU—to set up camp on the green in front of Stauffer-Flint or Fraser Hall. Then, start conversations with vendors and students so that the vital messages—location, time, season—gets across.

Maybe that would make that Market a little easier for students to find.

By Kim Wallace

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6 Comments so far
Leave a comment

While checking out the awesome farmer’s market site, be sure to look at the Weekday markets. There have in the past been two, from 4-6 pm, on Tuesdays and Thursdays. There was one last season on Wednesdays at the Merc, too. And as to bringing local food to campus, I’ve actually met with the cafeteria people about just such a proposal, and, well, do you see any farmer’s markets on campus or local food offerings in the Union? That doesn’t mean the new campus group, EARTH, won’t get better results that my lonely self, check them out for campus community gardening action.

Comment by jkongs

I agree that we need to find ways to connect students at KU with local producers. I once thought it would be nice if our campus could be a delivery point for the local CSA. But I think that would deprive people of the experience of going to the market. We sometimes take our dog to the Saturday market, walk around and see what’s offered, buy a coffee and fresh-baked scone, listen to the local musicians, and just enjoy the atmosphere. I don’t think the sense of community could be recreated on the Stauffer-Flint lawn.

I would be glad to help with events that bring producers to campus a couple times a year though, and think the Campus Garden being revived by EARTH could spark some additional interest. But students also have to realize they are part of a larger community and sometimes being engaged means getting out of bed and getting off the hill.

– Jeff

Comment by jseverin

I think this is more than just a green issue; there seems to be a pretty serious town/gown split, particularly between more traditional Lawrencians(i.e. the ones that preserve the town’s reputation for progressivism) and the student body.

John K

Comment by genghiskuhn

I agree with you John, and would suggest that it’s an issue of sustainability. Although sustainability is often defined in terms of the 3E’s (environment, economy, equity), I’ve seen “livability” added to that list in the planning world. That includes a sense of place and a sense community.

Comment by jseverin

Jeff,

I agree that the sense of community that market probably offers downtown (once again, I have never been) would diminish if the market came to the lawn of S-F or somewhere else at KU. But, I think that it would be a great way to integrate two communities so that these seemingly different people with seemingly different ways of life could better connect to each other and engage in each others’ worlds.

I think it would be cool to have the farmers’ market come to campus at the beginning of the season to make sure its presence is known, and then encourage people to get more each week at the regular locations. Then, it would be a give a little, get a little mentality. The market comes to the students once, to give them a taste, and then the students go to the market, and experience Lawrence pre-noontime.

Comment by kimwallace

This is my signature for my earlier post that it won’t let me edit

Jennifer

Comment by jkongs




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