UT Farmers Market Emphasizes Wholesome Foods , Community Engagement

UT Farmers Market Emphasizes Wholesome Foods , Community Engagement

Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero to Ring in 2016 Season on May 11

The University of Tennessee Farmers Market will open for its seventh season on May 11 at 4 p.m., and Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero will ring the opening bell.

Since 2010, the UT Farmers Market has provided a venue for area producers to sell healthful, local food to the greater Knoxville area. This year the market is expanding its community offerings. “Beyond providing access to local goods, we want to incorporate an educational and interactive component to the weekly market. There will be scheduled events and activities at each market that will be open and free to the public as well as community booths for local organizations to be able to connect with the university and greater Knoxville community,” said Beth Stanford, the market’s manager and an undergraduate student in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources studying food and agricultural business.

Annette Wszelaki, an associate professor of plant sciences who specializes in commercial vegetable production and who oversees Stanford and the market’s operations, agrees. “The market has many, integrated purposes. It’s a venue for local producers to sell their produce and products. It’s a hands-on opportunity to teach marketing to our students, and it’s a hub of community-based activities. That’s why we are so pleased that Mayor Rogero can join us for our opening day this year.”

Also on hand for the opening will be Larry Arrington, chancellor of the UT Institute of Agriculture. In 2016 the UT Farmers Market will once again feature Grow More, Give More, the UT Institute of Agriculture’s community outreach program that provides fresh produce to local food banks and shelters. The market will serve as a collection location for fresh produce donations and for educating market goers about food waste reduction efforts. Shoppers are invited to contribute, and area gardeners are invited to bring in their surplus produce for donation.

Stanford has been busy organizing additional community-focused activities to complement each week’s market. “We want the market to be a gathering place, where you come to buy groceries, but stay to have a picnic in the gardens. This year we will have food truck vendors to help make that convenient. Also, the events and activities are designed to get people outdoors, learning about a healthier lifestyle, and connecting with others in their community from local growers to artisans and musicians,” she said. “The market is a place for the community to come together and learn from each other.”

The events scheduled for May 11 include music by the Knoxville Banjo Orchestra, butterfly mosaic making for children with the UT Every Child Outdoors (ECO) Program, cooking demonstrations by Olibea chef and owner Jeff DeAlejandro, and all levels yoga with Amy Francis from Barre Belle Yoga & Fitness. The May schedule of the events can be found on the UT Farmers Market Facebook page.

The UT Farmers Market is free and open to the public every Wednesday from 4-7 p.m.in the UT Gardens off Neyland Drive. Market activities will be scheduled through October 19. For more information about the UT Farmers’ Market you can visit the market website: vegetables.tennessee.edu/utfm.html or find it on Facebook.

For inquiries about becoming a vendor, please email Beth Stanford at estanfo4@utk.edu.

Through its mission of research, teaching and extension, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions.ag.tennessee.edu

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