Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
The Post - Athens, OH
The independent newspaper covering campus and community since 1911.
The Post

Athens Farmers Market celebrates 50 years of bringing local food to Athens

Walking into the Athens Farmers Market is like entering a small community. The rectangle of tents is lined with vendors’ smiling faces selling vegetables, jams, bread, art, plants and more. Stroll to the East side of the market, and there is an exchange tent to change money or SNAP/ EBT to market bucks. 

If one walks near the artists section, they can likely find Beth Weingroff, promotions manager and vendor, at her tent for her business, Sledding Hill Pottery. Weingroff makes functional pottery and is an artist vendor with the Athens Art Guild that works with the Athens Farmers Market. 

“It’s a really positive experience — working and being surrounded by other makers and also seeing the value to the community,” Weingroff said. 

Weingroff said the range of products and goods as well as the SNAP program, which allows the market to serve a variety of people. 

The market is open Wednesdays from mid-April to November and all year round on Saturdays. The parking lot of The Market on State, 1002 E. State St., is the usual habitat of the market. In the winter, the market moves inside the State Mall. 

After 50 years going strong, the Athens Farmers Market is celebrating its milestone through a series of events throughout the year. 

Tanya Hire, market manager, wants to bring awareness of the market and its benefits to the community. The market benefits individuals, local businesses and the environment as well as plays a key role in the local economy, Hire said. 

“A lot of it has to do with trying to emphasize the importance of eating fresh, local foods,” Hire said. 

The official kickoff for the market's 50th anniversary is June 4, when more vegetables will be in season. However, events are already starting to commence, like the “From Farm to Table” exhibit at the Southeast Ohio History Center, 24 W. State St. The exhibit is on display starting Friday until June. There will also be a Pregnancy and Baby Fair in conjunction with Athens Birth Circle along with a few other potential events.

Devra Roberts, food access partners coordinator for Appalachian Accessible Food Network, facilitates communication among the groups that make up the network. The Appalachian Accessible Food Network is composed of Rural Action, Community Food Initiatives and the Appalachian Center for Economic Networks.

“I think the farmers' market gives the community a place to get outside, a place to buy local products that they might not otherwise see,” Roberts said. 

Upcoming events to celebrate the anniversary include Customer Appreciation Day on July 23 and Vendor Appreciation Day on Aug. 27. Additional events are in the works, including an Ohio University day expected in the fall. 

The events are for celebration as well as bringing customers back who might have stopped attending due to the coronavirus, Roberts said. Roberts hopes that new arrays of people show up, including OU students, as well as old customers.

The success and longevity of the market are due to the loyal customers and the dedication of the vendors, Hire said. 

The market won the Holzaepfel Economic Impact Award in 2021 from the Athens Chamber of Commerce. Hire attributes the impact to local food and it being beneficial for the environment and the local economy. 

There is also a program for SNAP benefits. Individuals who receive SNAP benefits are able to get a dollar-for-dollar match and use up to $25 per market day. Additionally, the market participates in other coupon programs like the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program.

“I think it offers a venue for connection of a local vendor and a local consumer,” Roberts said. “It helps shorten supply chains and give people more of an ownership in their food.”


Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2016-2024 The Post, Athens OH