Located on Brandeis Street next to the Ville Grill, the market will operate on Thursday afternoons from 3:30 to 6 p.m. until October 15. Patrons can shop for homegrown produce, healthy snacks, preserves, baked goods and crafts, as well as enjoy free live entertainment.
The market began last year as a way to bring locally grown produce to those living, working and learning on Belknap Campus, and it quickly became a success. This year, the focus is on building upon that success.
“Though the market is still in its infancy stage, I feel that the market has met all of our initial year start-up goals” said Mitchell Payne, vice president of business affairs. “This year our market co-managers, Terri Rutledge and Darlene Shircliff, have worked very hard to offer an expanded entertainment venue, prizes and giveaways as well as new products, such as ice cream, as part of our marketplace experience.”
But this program offers more than fresh food and a fun time.
“Certainly it is about good food and supporting local farms, but it is also about making connections with people beyond the campus community,” said Jeneen Wiche, owner of Swallow Rail Farm and a returning vendor who is also a lecturer in UofL’s department of anthropology.
After the success of the market’s first season, organizers turned their attention to extending the program’s impact beyond the borders of campus. As part of this effort, several vendors will be accepting EBT cards to help economically marginalized families access fresh produce. For those without reliable access to a car or nearby supermarkets, neighborhoods such as Old Louisville can become “food deserts” where only low quality, unhealthy food is available.
The market also lets shoppers connect to the local farmers who grow the food. “So much of farming takes place away from the eater, but the farmers market allows us to tell our stories and share in the responsibility of healthy people and healthy local food economies,” said Wiche.
Some of these stories will be told by refugees who are selling their produce through the Refugee Agriculture Partnership Program, new to the market this year. RAPP is an initiative of Kentucky Refugee Ministries that provides refugees with the resources to put their agricultural expertise to use and earn a living selling herbs and vegetables at farmers markets.
In addition to a variety of booths, the May 28 grand opening will feature a raffle for restaurant gift cards, tickets to local attractions and UofL branded items.
Watch UofL Today weekly on Wednesdays for updates on produce availability.