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UC Farmers Market celebrates growth, kicks off fourth year of operation

In 2008 a group of students pushed for the creation of what they thought would be a one-time farmers market during homecoming. The popularity of the market was so great that it has continued on, experienced steady growth since its inception, and the 2011 spring UC Farmers Market gets started today.

The University of Cincinnati seasonal farmers market will begin its fourth year of operation today after being cancelled last Monday due to inclement weather. The market will run from 10am to 3pm and will include offerings from eight to ten vendors.

The 2011 year brings with it continued growth for the UC Farmers Market. Since 2008, the seasonal market has seen its number of vendors increase roughly 33 percent, hours and days of operation expand, and the number of students showing up to the markets grow. According to Shawn Tubb, the seasonal farmers market had humble beginnings.

“A farmers market is something that I and many other students had asked about hosting on campus, as other colleges were having them around the country,” explained Tubb who currently serves as UC’s Sustainability Cooridnator. “It was mostly seen as a one-time event, both to publicize local food and Findlay Market, and also hopefully convince MainStreet that it was something that could be done on a regular basis.”

Following the initial market, Tubb says, MainStreet leaders were impressed with attendance and the popularity of the market. That early success led to the support for future markets.

The UC Farmers Market now operates every Monday and is scheduled to operate until June 6 this spring. A second seasonal market will take place in the fall and continue in the same spirit of promoting local food and many Findlay Market vendors who are otherwise closed on Mondays.

“If we want to sustain our neighborhoods, and seek to improve our communities and reduce crime, it starts with taking down some of these barriers and reaching out to each other,” said Biology and Environmental Studies major Brian Kunkemoeller. “We’ve lost touch with each other, and the real beauty of the farmers market is seeing real people connect in a backyard or corner market kind of way.”

The University of Cincinnati seems to agree with Tubbs and Kunkemoeller about the importance of having the seasonal markets. After discussions began in May 2010, UC’s Office of Sustainability has agreed to operate the markets themselves and pay students to staff general operations.

Students or members of the general public interested in attending one of the weekly UC Farmers Markets this spring can do so by visiting the university’s MainStreet (map) on Mondays between 10am to 3pm. The markets are free and open to the public. Metro bus service provides convenient access to the uptown area.

By Randy A. Simes

Randy is an award-winning urban planner who founded UrbanCincy in May 2007. He grew up on Cincinnati’s west side in Covedale, and graduated from the University of Cincinnati’s nationally acclaimed School of Planning in June 2009. In addition to maintaining ownership and serving as the managing editor for UrbanCincy, Randy has worked professionally as a planning consultant throughout the United States, Korea and the Middle East. After brief stints in Atlanta and Chicago, he currently lives in the Daechi neighborhood of Seoul’s Gangnam district.