Local Farmers Markets sell healthier foods for lower prices

caines | 12/13/2012, 4:30 a.m.

Residents are encouraged to support their community markets

While walking out of the library on a Saturday, Liberty City residents no longer have to settle for just a good book. They can also get a lesson on health. At another location, local community members and members of St. Phillip-Neri can now conveniently purchase their greens or any last minute additions of their Sunday dinners right on the churchs property. This has all been made possible, thanks to the opening of The West Little River Farmers Market, located behind the Arcola Lakes library on Saturdays from noon-3p.m., and the St. Phillip-Neri (Farmers market) Youth Stand on Sundays from 11a.m.-1p.m., sponsored by Urban GreenWorks, The Liberty City Trust and Youth LEAD. This is the third year that the Urban GreenWorks will be opening markets in Liberty City. In addition to these two local markets, The Liberty City Green Market, located at 5988 NW 7th Ave., will open on Jan. 5 from 10a.m.-3p.m. The markets will offer fresh, locally produced fruits and vegetables; cottage goods; cooking demonstrations; food samples; refreshing juices and smoothies; live music; health and nutrition education and crafts by local artisans. They will all be opened until May and June. According to Roger Horne, the director of community food security initiatives at Urban GreenWorks, the markets will offer cheaper and healthier foods that cater to the needs of the community. Similar to other farmers markets, Horne believes that these markets will create a safer area and more community interaction. Excess food that is not sold at the market is donated to food banks, local charities and churches, according to Horne. The young people of Youth LEAD, an organization that encourages young people to adopt healthy, sustainable behaviors and advocate for food and environmental justice, created a survey, which found that the products are a lot cheaper than the products sold at big supermarkets like Whole Foods, Publix and Winn Dixie. However, it is not GreenWorks intention to compete with supermarkets. Our markets are to educate, give folks access and affordability and third to generate money. The money made from the market will be given to the youth who were work at the markets and also used for the sustainability of the markets. Shoppers can visit the markets to attend health-related seminars on topics, such as: physical fitness, obesity and making quick and healthy meals. Local chefs and Horne will perform cooking demonstrations. He said he will show people how to make meals in 15 minutes. The excuse is no longer that fast food is faster, he said. The Liberty City Green Market will be more resident and community driven according to Horne. There will be more space for outside vendors than the other locations. He added that the prices to be a vendor are inexpensive. He said he is hoping to get a bigger turnout this year. He is hoping for a 200-300 people will come a day. In order for the markets to expand and become year-round, more people must come out and support. There will be a great variety of food for those who do stop by. Theres a line of products from A-Z, Horne said It goes from aloe to zucchini. By Malika A. Wrightmwright@miamitimesonline.com