1890 Research & Extension brings farmers market to SC State’s campus

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Mr. Willie UlmerSC State University faculty, staff and students won’t have to travel too far to purchase fresh produce with a new initiative sprouting on campus, the Eat Fresh Farmers Market.

The market, sponsored by the 1890 Research & Extension Program, will be held on Nov. 17 from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on the front lawn of Staley Hall. Though open to the public, exclusive shopping hours for the SC State family will take place from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.

“Members of the University family, as well as those in the surrounding communities, will have greater access to fresh vegetables and other produce with the Eat Fresh Market located on campus,” said Edoe Agbodjan, senior extension director for small farm assistance and outreach program. “The market will also serve as an alternative outlet for local farmers to build their consumer base and generate additional revenue,” he continued.

Consumers will be able to purchase collards, turnips, mustard greens, rutabagas, sweet potatoes, sugar cane, pumpkins and pecans, all grown by some of the 1890 Extension producers, whose farm operations are located in Hampton and Orangeburg counties.

The idea of the market grew from suggestions proposed, coincidentally, this past spring to Agbodjan by an 1890 Extension farmer and SC State staff. The farmer, who sells produce at the Medical University of South Carolina’s farmers market, thought a similar initiative at SC State would prove to be an ideal opportunity for 1890 Extension farmers, who often compete against corporation-style farms to earn revenue. University staff made the recommendations out of need to encourage individuals to select and prepare healthier meals.

“The development of the Eat Fresh Farmers Market demonstrates 1890 Research & Extension’s on- going commitment to meet the needs of our clients. Our programs and services must be relevant for our clientele. The best way to do that is to develop and implement initiatives designed to improve the quality of life of our clients,” said Delbert Foster, 1890 Extension administrator.

According to Agbodjan, if the market is financially viable for the farmers, organizers will determine a permanent operation schedule.

“We strongly encourage consumers to shop at the Eat Fresh Farmers Market. Not only will they have the opportunity to cook more nutritious meals with fresh goods, but their purchase helps support local farmers,” noted Agbodjan.

For more details on the Eat Fresh Farmers Market, contact Edoe Agbodjan at (803) 533-3672 or eagbodjan@scsu.edu.