Thursday May 10, 2012
Every Sunday this summer through fall, the parking lot between South Burlington High School and F.H. Tuttle Middle School on Dorset Street will come alive with fresh fruits and vegetables, homemade foods, locally produced crafts, and entertainment and activities for all ages. The South Burlington Farmers’ Market is moving from its current location just up the street at Healthy Living Market and Café—and expanding along the way.
“Being able to hold the Market weekly instead of twice a month is a huge step forward,” says Eli Lesser-Goldsmith, general manager of Healthy Living Market (HLM), who has been involved in the Farmers’ Market since its beginnings four years ago. “The new location adds a lot more depth to what the Market can offer the community,” he adds. “There’ll be better visibility from the road, more parking, and more space for people to move around.”
Management of the Farmers’ Market will be passed to Common Roots, a local nonprofit that provides programs to support a sustainable local food system and healthier school food. Kindle Loomis, a soon-to-be UVM graduate, will take on the role of Market Manager. She’ll be mentored by HLM’s Trisha Hlastawa, who managed the Farmers’ Market last year. “We’re grateful to have Healthy Living’s guidance on how to continue the great work they’ve started,” says Common Roots Chair Carol McQuillen.
The larger space will allow the Market to accommodate a minimum of 30 vendors—many of whom visitors will recognize from previous years, including Mr. Harvest, Open Hearth Pizza, Vermont Kale Chips, Benito’s Hot Sauce and Sugartree Maple Farm. (Interested vendors can download information and application forms at www.commonroots.org.)
In concert with the district’s school and community wellness policy, the Market’s offerings will focus on healthy local food (50 percent), local products (25 percent) and local arts & crafts (25 percent). Entertainment and fun activities will also be featured regularly, along with wellness offerings that center around food, health, and exercise. The proximity to area schools will allow Common Roots and the district “to involve students in Farm-to-School and wellness learning opportunities,” explains South Burlington School District Assistant Superintendent Winton Goodrich. “The Farmers’ Market will enhance the emerging school nutrition culture.”
Also integral to Common Roots’ mission for the Market is food security, notes McQuillen: “We want it to be accessible to Vermonters of all income levels.” The Market will honor EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) cards for customers receiving support from the 3SquaresVT program, she explains, and Common Roots will “work with area social workers and form partnerships with local families in need, to encourage them to come to the Market.”
For her part, Hlastawa is glad to see the Market evolving to attract more neighbors of all ages, especially families. “There will be something fun to look forward to every week.” More importantly, she adds, “it’s a huge opportunity for the district and Common Roots to show families that it is possible to integrate healthier eating into the school food system.”
Winton Goodrich concurs. “There’s a growing number of teachers and parents who see the benefits of students learning about healthy eating and living healthfully in the community,” he adds. “Healthy life choices build a healthy community.”
SOURCE: Joyce Hendley, Contributor