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Monday, Oct 20, 2014

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farmers market

Dale's Creation jelly at the Farmers Market

Photo courtesy of: Tracy Kelly

Farmers Market pretzels

Even snack foods are available at the Mini Farmers Market

Photo courtesy of: Tracy Kelly

farmer's market veggies

Locally grown veggies are always popular at the Mini Farmers Market

Photo courtesy of: Tracy Kelly

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Mini Farmers Market offered in summer for first time

Four year anniversary for the sale is this fall


Through the end of October, the Ohio University Mini Farmers Market is being held every other Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

The sales, which are being offered for the first time during the summer, will take place at the former Howard Hall site (corner of Union and College streets) on Aug. 16, Aug. 30, Sept. 13, Sept. 27, Oct. 11 and Oct. 25.

The Mini Farmers Market features locally grown produce and items, including organic breads, jams/jellies, confections, coffees, teas and chocolates.

Registered vendors at the Aug. 2 sale included the Sassafras Farm, Casa Nueva, Herbal Sage Tea, Sarah's Sweets, No Bull Dog Treats, Herbavore Gardens, Dale's Creations, Ali Baba's, OU Fair Trade, Heather Irwin, Chelsea's Real Food, Chesterhill Produce Auction and Peaceful by Nature.

The Market, which will begin its fourth year this fall, is sponsored by The Campus Involvement Center (CIC), Off Campus Living and Community Service programs. It was originally created and sponsored in fall 2010 by Graduate Senate members.

Ohio University alumna Tracy Kelly, who founded the Mini Farmers Market as president of Graduate Senate in 2010, recruits vendors to attend, helps them set up and tear down their tables and promotes the sales dates on campus and in the community.

"There's room to make the Mini Farmers Market bigger and better in the future," said Kelly. "We've had good participation this summer despite most of the students being gone, so I'm really looking forward to seeing how well it does this fall."

Kelly said she is thankful that the CIC has taken an active role this year in the Mini Farmers Market. Last year, she almost single handedly coordinated four sales (two each semester) and even paid the accompanying expenses of hosting the Market out of her pocket.

This year she decided to solicit help from the CIC and other groups after earning her master's degree in public administration in May and accepting jobs in the Ohio University Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs and the Ohio University Center for Legal Services.

Barb Harrison, assistant director of the CIC, said this year her student volunteers will assist Kelly with hosting the Market. The students will help vendors set up and break down their sales tables and also help them secure nearby parking.

"The Campus Involvement Center is thrilled to have this opportunity to provide an on-campus venue for the Athens Campus Mini Farmers Market," Harrison said. "We hope that hosting this event will continue to strengthen Ohio University's commitment to supporting the local business community partners."

Kelly, who also served two years as an Ohio University student trustee, said shopping at the Mini Farmers Market can be a learning experience for students.

"The Mini Farmers Market is a tremendous opportunity for students to become aware of the outstanding items that Athens vendors have to offer," Kelly said. "It also has become a bridge event between the Athens campus and local community, which was my hope when I started it. It has been incredibly rewarding work for me and I'm proud to be a part of it."

All Mini Farmers Market proceeds go directly to the vendors and support sustainable agriculture, local businesses and the locovore movement. Everyone, including Ohio University faculty, staff and students, is welcome to participate as a vendor or buyer.

For more information or to sign up to participate, contact Tracy Kelly at tk381500@gmail.com.