August 31, 2011

Farmers’ Market Hits Ho Plaza With Local Food

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Faculty, staff and students in search of locally-grown food now need to look no further than Ho Plaza, as the first Farmers’ Market at Cornell opens Thursday.The market, which provides fresh, local food to Cornell’s campus, will be open every Thursday for seven weeks until Oct. 20. The market will feature a variety of vendors from throughout the community, as well as live music.The list of vendors includes Cornell Orchards, Dilmun Hill Student Organic Farm and Fruits and Roots Juices, along with four other vendors. Audrey Boochever ’13, the project’s market manager, said the new farmers’ market will help enrich and unite the Cornell community.“The idea is that the market will serve as a place for students, faculty and staff to get together and buy local food and local dishes as an alternative for lunch or snack,” Boochever said. “It has the potential to connect the Cornell community with local agriculture and small businesses.”Boochever said that special provisions have been taken to ensure the Cornell market does not take away business from the Ithaca Farmers Market. “We made the date and time of the Farmers’ Market at Cornell such that it would not compete with the Ithaca Farmers Market,” Boochever said in an email. “None of our vendors also work at the Ithaca Farmers’ Market [this year] so we are giving them a market to sell their food and generate income. In my opinion, everyone wins.” Katerina Athanasiou ’13, another market manager of the Farmers’ Market at Cornell and The Sun’s Science Editor, reaffirmed this sentiment, stating that the goal of the Cornell market was never to compete or replace other farmers’ markets in the Ithaca area. Instead, Athanasiou said that the market is meant is to give all Cornellians greater access to fresh, local food.  The organizers of the Ithaca Farmers’ Market did not respond to requests for comment, but Athanasiou said the Cornell farmers’ market faced no opposition from the established organization.“I contacted the Ithaca Farmers’ Market when we first began organizing. They were really supportive but couldn’t offer help because they have so much work on their own,” Athanasiou said. “But we never got opposition from them.”Both Boochever and Athanasiou said they would describe the Farmers’ Market at Cornell as a “collaborative effort,” requiring the cooperation of numerous individuals and student organizations. The co-sponsors of the market include Mortar Board, the Student Union Board, the Bartels Co-Sponsorship and New World Agriculture and Ecology Group. While Boochever and Athansiou said the market received ample support from student organizations and countless individuals, there were a number of setbacks throughout the process. “We had to meet with a lot of administrative people and find ways to deal with all the mounting costs,” Boochever said. “Doing this has made me realize how much ‘red tape’ there is at Cornell.”Despite administrative issues, unexpected fees and location changes, Athansiou says she is excited for the Farmers’ Market of Cornell to finally become part of the “Cornell experience.”

Original Author: Alyson Warhit