Excited to learn that two of my favorite local farmers, Lynn Crosby and John Karlik of Sweetwater Farm/Good Food Easy CSA, are breaking ground yet again! That’s Farmer John, above, at this year’s Fun with Fermentation festival. Creswell-based Sweetwater Farm has two NEW farm stands, one in the Fairmount neighborhood at 19th and Agate on Sundays, and one in an unexpected place — outside the Dari Mart at 1243 Rainbow Drive (at Centennial) in Springfield on Wednesdays.
As excited as I am to see Sweetwater join together with a new local meat and poultry vendor Fair Valley Farm (Edited: some of the participants I listed earlier are not participating) at the Sunday market from 10-2:30, filling a void in our week full of markets, I’m even more excited about the Springfield market on Wednesdays between 4 and 6 p.m.
Why’s that, you say?
It’s not just because today, Wednesday, July 25, is their grand opening with cooking demonstrations and a kids’ activity area from 4:00-6:00 p.m…
It’s what this Springfield market represents: a growing movement to bring healthy and fresh local food to areas that don’t have easy access to fancy supermarkets and almost daily farmers markets like we do in South Eugene. Dari Mart, a family-owned local company that also operates Lochmead Dairy, has almost 50 stores in the Willamette Valley, and we are so thankful for their interest in sustainability initiatives. Last year, they formed a partnership with several local non-profit organizations (including the Willamette Farm and Food Coalition and NEDCO (Neighborhood Economic Development Corporation) of Springfield) to improve good food access and fight childhood obesity in what are called “mixed-income neighborhoods.” The organization spearheading the effort, Lane Coalition for Healthy Active Youth (LCHAY), notes that Dari Mart is a pioneer in this type of partnership, as there aren’t many mid-sized chain operators interested in connecting with local farmers and non-profits to introduce fresh produce and other healthy food to the convenience store. You can learn more about LCHAY’s initiative called the Healthy Corner Store project, and more about Dari Mart’s efforts to bring fresh food to its customers, here.
Sweetwater Farm has been selling produce now for a few weeks at Dari Mart’s Centennial location, and Lynn tells me that it’s been going well so far. Come make it even more of a success today, and enjoy their official grand opening!
And if your organization is interested in participating in a similar project or you’re looking to give these folks some welcome media exposure, LCHAY’s contact is Claire Syrett, Manager, Policy and Advocacy Initiatives, Lane Coalition for Healthy Active Youth (LCHAY), 541-682-4306, claire at lchay dot org.