OPELIKA — Opelika Grows, or O’Grows, will offer a farmers market at 1103 Glenn St. every Saturday this spring. Vendors sell produce, eggs, baked goods, bread and more.
“One of the reasons for the market is to provide access to goods and fresh vegetables and produce to the community,” said O’Grows production manager Noa Broadway.
One of the primary purposes of these farmers markets is to respond to the community needs directly around O’Grows.
“Where we’re situated geographically, we are surrounded by a few neighborhoods that are in what you call a food desert,” Broadway said. “It’s a couple of miles from a grocery store. So having access to fresh food is one of the biggest priorities.”
Along with addressing the significant community need, going to the farmers market is a fun way to spend Saturday mornings. Those who attend can look at and enjoy the garden, goats and vendors.
Broadway said, “It’s something fun for everyone to come to. Whether it be a Saturday morning walk, or you can go get coffee or breakfast and come on over.”
O’Grows encourages community investment and involvement in all aspects of their facility and specifically seeks to inform and expose students to valuable knowledge about growing food.
“A lot of what we do too, is education for K-12 students and getting them learning about the local food systems, getting them learning just about community concerns, like food insecurity,” Program Director Jessi Riel said. “And ways that we can address that through community gardening. Also getting them engaged and just like hands-on, science and everything.”
Riel said she hopes that educating students will empower them to create personal gardens and invest their knowledge about plants and growing into the next generation and the community as a whole.
“We are just trying to get our students who are out here as involved with other community members as possible. And that helps them a lot with learning about different job opportunities in the community and just making more connections with people in the community,” Riel said.
The spring market will continue until the end of April and the summer market will begin soon after. O’Grows will continue to invest in the health and education of the community in hopes that the citizens will take in the knowledge and opportunities they offer.
“It’s really fun and I think not only encouraging but kind of empowering to be able to say that I harvested that, and it gets people thinking about what Jessi said, you know, our core values are our community, participation and access to fresh food, ” Broadway said.