Farmers market comes to campus for first time

By Jarrod Thacker

While on their way to class, students will soon be able to learn the importance of buying local and going green.

The Farmers MarCat, the first farmers market event held on campus, will be located on Hilltop Avenue near K-Lair, and will allow UK students, faculty and staff to purchase homegrown and handmade products on April 11, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Engaging Issues committee of the UK Student Activities Board (SAB) cultivated this idea in order to promote student awareness of environmental and economic issues in an informal setting.

Jill Baranowski, SAB director of Engaging Issues, said local farms and educational groups will set up tables in a way very similar to the Lexington Farmers Market, but presenters will be providing valuable information about supporting local economies, sustainability and being healthy.

“There is a ton of information out there that hasn’t been reaching our students as well as we would like it to,” Baranowski said. “Not all the students can make it to the downtown market … so we wanted to bring a taste of that to them.”

Traditionally, a farmers market provides an outlet for local producers to reach consumers. The Lexington Farmers Market lists that it allows farmers to receive a fair price for their product, preserves farmland and keeps money in-state.

A UK College of Agriculture New Crop Opportunities Center report stated that “the most common reason that customers give for shopping at community farmers markets is the quality of produce.”

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, farmers markets have more than tripled in the United States from 1994 to 2010, from 1,755 to 6, 132, with a 16% increase from 2009-2010.

“Going green and being sustainable has become quite trendy and it is very important,” Baranowski said “There is a ton of information out there that hasn’t been reaching our students as well as we would like it to.”

Baranowski said the Farmers MarCat lasts such a long period of time to allow students to visit in-between classes.

The event is free for all to attend, but presenters will also selling their products in addition to educating.