Wholesome consuming is extra accessible because the Columbia Farmers Market is open on weekdays | Information from Mid-Missouri
COLUMBIA – June 1st is the first day Columbia Farmers Market begins its weekday opening hours for the summer season. Farmers markets are a great way to buy local and healthy food.
According to the Office of Sustainability, 31 percent of Boone County’s residents live in a food wasteland. That means they have little access to grocery stores. Residents in urban areas who live more than a mile from supermarkets and residents in rural areas who live more than 10 miles from supermarkets find themselves in food deserts.
Check out this map from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service to see if you live in a food wasteland.
The Boone County Farmers Market, Orr Street Farmers and Artisans Market, and Columbia Farmers Market are open to the public.
Columbia Farmers Market offers SNAP and WIC programs where the market offers purchases up to $ 35 for low-income shoppers with children under 19, the disabled, or the elderly.
Corinna Smith, Executive Director for Columbia Farmers Market, said, “We saw a need. Everyone eats and we want everyone to have fair access to what we offer here. “
It’s the equivalent of between $ 30,000 and $ 40,000 each year. The money comes from the Boone County Children Services Fund and community donations. The Veterans United Foundation recently made a donation.
Columbia Farmers Market is open Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
The Boone County Farmers Market is also open on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and the Orr Street Farmers and Artisans Market is open on Sundays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Erica Mantle is one of the vendors at Columbia Farmers Market. She works in The Veggie Patch’s production garden.
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Mantel said, “It’s great to shop locally and buy locally.”
COMO Common Grounds community gardens
The Sustainability Office has communal garden areas where the public can grow their own food.
There are five community gardens:
- Britt / Hall community garden
- Stormy’s Meadow Community Garden
- Columbia Public Schools community garden
- DH Crum community garden
- Unite4Health community garden
Columbia Parks and Recreation also rents garden space in Fairview Park.
Eric Hempel, environmental program coordinator for the Office of Sustainability, said that public transportation in Colombia is free, so residents can get to farmers’ markets and community gardens even if they don’t have their own reliable means of transportation.
If residents have mobility problems, there are resources they can use as well. Alternative Community Training (ACT), OATS Inc., and Service for Independent Living are available.
Hempel knows no farmers’ markets or community gardens in the areas that are considered to be food wastes.
“That would be a valuable service to the neighborhood,” said Hempel. “That is a strategy that we could certainly examine. There could be some community partners who could help us bring the food to the people. “