Farmers market returns to University campus

Organizers hope the market’s organic produce will promote a healthful diet.

by Tyler Rushmeyer

For the second consecutive year, a farmers market sponsored by the University’s UPlan Wellness program will run along Church Street.

The market starts today and will feature Minnesota- and Upper Midwest-grown fruits, herbs, flowers and vegetables.

Carol Carrier, vice president of human resources at the University, pitched the idea for the market nearly three years ago when UPlan Wellness, a program that promotes health among University employees, was launched.

“I had a real interest in helping employees become healthy,” Carrier said. “The market is a great motivator to lead a healthy life and hopefully people will continue to develop an interest in fresh produce.”

Farmers market coordinator Jill Thielen said the vendors were chosen with assistance from the manager of the Minneapolis farmers market, who provided a list of vendors who participate in the downtown market.

From the list, vendors were chosen by criteria such as their years of operation, affordability, freshness, proximity and variety of products, she said. All products sold must also be grown by the vendor, Thielen said.

Courtney Tchida, student programs coordinator for the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture, said the market is popular because it is the only place to find fresh vegetables on campus, something nearby stores cannot offer.

Tchida is involved with the What’s Up in Sustainable Agriculture student group, which is the driving force behind the Cornercopia Student Organic Farm. The group manages an acre of land on the St. Paul campus and again will take part in the market.

“I think the market is a great concept in that it delivers and keeps local foods on campus,” she said. “It just makes sense for our group to be involved and it’s a great opportunity.”

The farm is in the second year of a three-year process to receive organic certification, she said. The market stand will offer vegetables, herbs and flowers.

“The farmers market provides a fun atmosphere and boosts spirit and morale in the office,” Thielen said. “It’s really just a convenient way to purchase healthy foods and get outside.”

The market will coordinate with the Summer at Northrop concert series today, July 19 and 26, and the monthly Wellness Walk at 1 p.m. Aug. 2.

Along with the healthful foods offered, representatives from Wellness Collaborative and Health Connections will offer health and fitness tips and tote bags will be given to the first 1,000 customers today and green water bottles with the farmers market logo will be given away Aug. 2.