Farmers market route provides transportation for at-risk communities

The market features vendors from local farms in order to generate more revenue for the Columbia area.
The Columbia Farmer's Market will now provide a shuttle on Saturday mornings. The shuttle will be stopping at Rollins Street and Maryland Avenue to pick up students. Maneater File Photo

Breakfast and the purchase of farm fresh eggs, apples, oranges and tomatoes just got much easier for the Columbia community.

Starting April 7, the Columbia Public Works Department will fund a seasonal route to the Columbia Farmer's Market.

The route is funded by a $4,800 grant courtesy of the United States Department of Agriculture, according to a news release. Columbia Transit will provide transportation by a route traversing core areas of the Columbia community.

One of the types of areas focused on will be food deserts, which are urban areas without immediate access to fresh and healthy food that is also affordable.

The Columbia Farmers Market is open throughout the spring and fall seasons and includes food from local vendors. Workers occasionally visit MU and sell items like pound cakes, pies, fruits and vegetables.

Freshman Jenna Gorniack said she thinks the inclusion of the USDA with the market is great because it provides opportunities for her and other residents to taste foods from other sources than supermarkets or Mizzou Market. She also said the food is fresh and could help people benefit from good nutritional qualities.

“The farmers market will benefit from the new association with Columbia because it will provide good nutrition for those who lack it," Gorniack said. "They should have done this years ago, but the fact that they're doing it now means that they care about the community and want it to improve in many areas, such as the food markets.”

Freshman Mallory Lang said the new routes give people new chances to explore familiar foods from local vendors, something that will lead to more local farmers getting sales.

“I think it’s a great idea," Lang said. "It gives people who don't have transportation to get there the opportunity to go there and buy from the local farmers. More people who support local farmers and want to buy locally grown vegetables will have the availability and have transportation to go there.”

This Saturday, there will be items such as mushrooms, asparagus, spinach, lettuce, radishes and blueberry bushes. The farmers market will be held at the ARC parking lot on 1701 W. Ash St., just three blocks east of Stadium Boulevard.

The buses will run at 7:45 a.m. at Rollins Street and Maryland Avenue. They will run on 30-minute routes and the final departure from the market will be at 11:45 a.m.

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