Celebrate National Farmers’ Market Week

There is nothing better than slicing up a big, juicy, garden tomato fresh off the vine. However, some may not have the means to grow fresh vegetables in their backyards.

At the Center for Rural Affairs, we work with rural communities to build healthy, sustainable, local food systems. That includes farmers’ markets.

Our good friends at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition stated there are now about 8,500 farmers’ markets in the United States today. Since 2006, the number has grown by 180 percent. That’s quite a bit of local food connected to local consumers helping the local economies.

While we are proud of all the farmers’ markets we’ve been involved with, three in particular are close to our hearts for National Farmers’ Market Week 2016. They are markets in Santee, Macy and Walthill.

At the Omaha Nation and Santee Sioux Reservations, we work with the Nebraska Indian Community College to provide gardening assistance to residents.

We operate farmers’ markets to give gardeners an opportunity to sell extra produce and to provide beaders, arts and crafters, bakers and other community members with another avenue to sell their goods and gain exposure.

The Uzhi Uthiwi (Garden Market) Macy Outdoor Market is in its third year. It is held every other Thursday from 4 to 7 p.m. at Macy. In off weeks, a second market is held in Walthill on Thursdays from 4 to 7 p.m.

“We are doing it! We are growing our very own fresh food,” said Suzi French, community food specialist in Macy. “We are eating it, sharing it and some are selling it. We are teaching our children about growing food. We are changing our food system.”

The Santee Community Farmers’ Market runs every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Ohiya Casino parking lot on Highway 12, just east of Niobrara. This is the second year of this farmers’ market.

“Gardeners in Santee are just starting to have extra produce to sell,” said April Goettle, community food specialist in Santee. “Vendors at the market are doing very well with canned pickles, jams and jellies, as well as baked goods.”

All three markets will continue until early October.

To learn more about the Uzhi Uthiwi Macy Outdoor Markets, please click here. To learn more about the Santee Community Farmers’ Market, please click here.