A local farmer’s market is finishing out its season this October, continuing a mission to bring farm fresh produce to the traditionally undeserved South Lansing community. “In order to help people out, we have alternative payments,” said Jenae Ridge, the South Lansing Farmer’s Market manager. “We accept EBT and WIC Project Fresh, as well as credit card.”
Ridge finds the most special part of the farmer’s market to be the way that the vendors and customers treat each other. “I think the community between the vendors is special, and also the customers,” said Ridge. “The vendors have really gotten to know each other.
By BECKY MCKENDRY
Capital News Service
LANSING – Food stamp use at farmers markets is expanding – and soon it may be easier for markets to accept food stamps. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently requested suggestions to improve service and eligibility requirements for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, also known as SNAP or food benefits. And the East Lansing-based Michigan Farmers Market Association (MIFMA) submitted comments calling for improvements in the way farmers markets seek SNAP eligibility. Among the suggestions: Simplify the paperwork for markets to apply for SNAP eligibility and provide more assistance with associated costs. “We have a lot of opportunities for growth here,” said Amanda Shreve, manager of programs and partnerships at MIFMA.
The Meridian Township farmers market in the Central Park Pavilion, now has 40 years of experience and allows people to get fresh Michigan made products. The market is a food and plant based farmers market that attracts between 20-25 vendors on Wednesdays and 40-45 vendors on Saturday. It is located next to the municipal building on Marsh Road. “On Saturdays, we have to place some of our vendors near the historical park” said Christine Miller, Meridian Township farmers market manager. Christine, who is entering her sixth season as farmers market manager, explained that the market allows people on Bridge cards to come and pay using that method.
The Williamston Farmers’ Market suffered the effects of unfavorable weather this summer, but remains in full swing thanks to continued vendor and customer presence. The farmers’ market, which was in McCormick Park this year, has been running every Thursday from 3-7 p.m. since June 7. It will be wrapping up a successful season on September 27, but its vendors have not been totally immune to the bad weather conditions of the summer. The frost and then the drought have been bad for many farmers around Michigan. These conditions have led to significant crop loss and decreased production for farms in some areas.
HOLT — “When I asked 10 people what they looked for in a farmer’s market, I got ten different answers,” Chuck Grinnell, market manager of the Holt Farmer’s Market, said. When Grinnell was first asked to put together the farmer’s market in Holt, Mich. three and a half years ago, he wanted to create something unlike the cookie-cutter markets that are wide-spread across Mid-Michigan. “I don’t want to say we do it better, because every farmer’s market has their own personal attraction, but we are a rural, farm market.” Grinnell said. “Plus, we’re one of the only indoor farmer’s market in the state.”
The Holt Farmer’s Market hosts local venders who sell a wide-variety of products such as free-range meat, baked goods, fresh produce and home-made cosmetics.
By Shanacee Shreve
Entirely East Lansing staff writer
The East Lansing Farmer’s Market is up and open for business. The market is located close to Grand River Avenue and is open every week until October 30, 2011. The Farmer’s Market is a growers’ market, which means everything in the market place is homegrown, according to the market’s website. They have a variety of vendors including Hang’s Market, Spartan Country Meats, Nightengale Farms, Clearview Orchard, Pregitzer Farm and much more. Richard Bowie, a third-season organic grower at market, is not convinced that all the food sold at the market is homegrown.