Monthly farmer’s market offers fresh food alternatives

The market will be held once a month from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Missouri Legacy Beef employee Mark Mahnken grills sausages during the Wellness Resource Center's farmer's market Thursday at Lowry Mall. Mahnken advertised his beef house by periodically chanting the word "beef" along with students.

The first on-campus farmer’s market of the new academic year was held Thursday at Lowry Mall as part of the Wellness Resource Center’s plan for a more consistent time and place for the farmer’s market.

“My predecessor, Julie Tobias, worked to get the farmer’s market started and held a couple farmer’s markets in the past,” Cindy Foley, a registered dietician and nutrition counselor, said.

According to Foley, who is in charge of the campaign, the farmer’s market was approved to be held once a month this year from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Lowry Mall. There are approximately 10 vendors and five information booths, which include campus organizations that provide information and free items to students.

The vendors’ products include fresh produce, plants, baked goods, local beef, honey products and ice cream as well as other desserts.

All vendors are members of the Columbia and Boone County farmer’s markets. Commercial vendors are not allowed because members are required to grow their own produce.

Barbara Nobis, who runs the baked goods stand “Grandma Barb’s Pie,” said it is fun to see all the enthusiasm from students.

“I have seen students who walk in and say, ‘Oh, I haven’t seen pies like this since my grandma used to make them!’” Nobis said. “That is a good feeling.”

She said she brings different types of products, including smaller, easy-to-grab goods to appeal to students’ hectic lifestyle.

According to senior Whitney Sedler, she has never been to a farmer’s market in Columbia or in her hometown of Kansas City.

“I was walking through the mall with my roommate and we couldn’t help but stop,” she said. “I was really excited to see fresh fruit everywhere.”

Foley advised vendors to bring smaller, individually wrapped goods and made sure the market had a central location for students to easily purchase items.

“I think the vendors that we have are of great quality,” Foley said. “I look forward to having the students meet and talk with them.”

Foley said she is hoping that holding this farmer’s market monthly will encourage students to eat healthier food.

“Buying food locally helps retain farmland and green space,” she said. “Less distance between food source and table leads to less chance for contamination.”

Foley said she hopes this will spark student interest in gardening and thinks it is a lifelong hobby that contributes to a healthy lifestyle. She said the center hopes all members of the community, including faculty and Columbia residents, will come to the event on campus.

“We certainly provide a good event,” she said. “It’s good for the population that we have.”

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