Farmer's market connects students, food producers
The first Mizzou Farmer’s Market of the season will take place April 9 on Lowry Mall.
Apr. 01, 2015
The distinct aroma of freshly baked pies permeates the air surrounding Lowry Mall. It doesn’t take long until word gets out that Barbara Nobis, or Grandma Barb, arrived at the Mizzou Farmer’s Market. Students quickly begin crowding around the booth where Grandma Barb happily shares her famous homemade goods with her “sugars.”
Last spring, Grandma Barb said tears were brought to her eyes when a student thanked her for helping him get through college with the reliable taste of her homemade goods.
Students, faculty and staff can find local food vendors like Grandma Barb at the first Mizzou Farmer’s Market of the season between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on April 9.
The Environmental Leadership Office hosts a farmers market on campus about three times each semester, during which MU students, faculty and staff can develop one-on-one relationships with farmers and learn how eating locally can benefit the environment.
ELO advisor Amy Eultgen said while there are many economical benefits of supporting local farmers markets, eating locally may also have a direct impact on individual carbon footprints.
“Knowing that (your food) didn’t travel too far to get to you is a huge part of sustainability,” she said. “Sometimes our (food) is grown out of the country . . . which might take a lot of fossil fuels to get to us.”
Eultgen said the opportunity for consumers to meet the farmer who grows their food is another benefit of buying from local farmers markets.
“Not only does it support the local economy, it gives people a chance to figure out where their food is grown,” she said. “When you shop local — whether that be at a farmers market or some sort of established place — you get to know your farmer, which is really cool because then you can talk to that person about how it was grown if you have questions.”
Grandma Barb’s Pies has been a vendor at the MU farmers markets since they first began a few years ago.
“It’s so much different than going to a grocery store and getting food (because) you feel like nobody even knows you,” she said. “Farmers markets give you more of a one-on-one basis.”
Grandma Barb said her home-baked goods do not include any preservatives. She said it’s the natural freshness that keeps her customers coming back every farmer’s market both on campus and in Columbia.
“When you come to a farmers market, you know that the product has been picked within the last day probably, two days at the most,” she said. “It is much fresher.”
Eultgen said consumers should take advantage of the unique one-on-one basis farmers markets can provide so they can ask their farmers not only where, but how their food was made.
Some students at the market are not there to buy, but are farmers themselves. Tigers for Community Agriculture is a vegetable growing project at MU that partners with Bradford Research Farm to provide a “hands-on learning environment for students interested in sustainable agriculture.” Vegetables grown by TCA are also sold at the Mizzou Farmer’s Market.
“The students who are out picking vegetables . . . are at the farmers markets so you can ask them directly how they picked it or how farming was,” sophomore and ELO ambassador Mackenzie Mock said. “I think that’s a really cool aspect.”
Eultgen said she hopes the farmer’s markets will encourage more people on campus to learn that the opportunity to purchase local food is readily available in the community.