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By Devese “Dee” Ursery
The Maryville Farmers’ Market hosted Farmer’s Day in Fireman’s Park last Thursday for the community to come out and meet the people who grow and produce some of the foods they eat.
The Farm Bureau came out to help promote Farmer’s Day, the agricultural community and to educate residents about the importance of the local farmer. The market provides the customers with everything from fresh produce, locally made arts and crafts; to skin care products. The event was also a day for people to come out and meet the local farmers.
Anne Matthews, president and founder of the Maryville Farmers’ Market said the event is to celebrate the farms that make the Farmers’ Market possible.
“We’re here every Thursday along with the farmers who are willing to share what they grow, produce and raise,” Matthews said.
Matthews said this day is about showing appreciation to the farms and celebrating the history of Illinois agriculture.
“Every single person who eats has to be grateful to a farmer somewhere and needs to show their appreciation to a farmer somewhere,” Mathews said.
Matthews said they accept Link and have the link matching grant through Link-Up Illinois, so the people who are on food assistance can also get fresh produce.
Matthews explained the farms who travel here to the farmers’ market, travel an average 17 miles, so your food here travels 17 miles to go home with you. In contrast, your food from Walmart travels up to 1800 miles, so if you think about it, buying directly from the source reduces your carbon footprint. Matthews also said it is of a higher quality.
“Most of this stuff that you’re going to pick up here today was harvested yesterday,” Matthews said. “The eggs that you can buy over here at Swanson’s were mostly picked in the last three to four days. The eggs you buy in the store have been there for three months.”
The Maryville Farmers’ Market is a seasonal event that takes place from 5-7 p.m. every first, third and fifth Thursday in Fireman’s Park. The Maryville Farmers’ Market runs from May 18, to September 7.
Matthews acknowledged the Madison County Farm Bureau for coming out with their educational activities. She also thanked them for helping promote the importance of farms, not only in Illinois but across America.
Mackenzie Landmann, summer intern for the Farm Bureau said their mission is to bridge the gap between the community, the farmers and the producers.
“We advocate for our farmers on a higher level within policy and government, as well as helping our community members in spreading the education about agriculture,” Landmann said.
Landmann said that farmers’ markets are important to this region because it gives the community members a chance to meet the farmers.
“It’s a good way for the community to know the people who are producing their food,” Landmann said. “It lets them know that we are not out here with bad practices and that we care about the people who are eating our food.”
An extension of the Madison County Farm Bureau, the Young Leaders, is anyone from the ages of 18 to 35 that’s interested in farming or becoming a part of the community.
Nick Koeller, farm bureau treasurer said they are out here to let people know that they are in the community. He said there are various parts under the Madison County Farm Bureau umbrella, like advocating to politicians legislation that benefits farmers and consumers.
Along with the Young Leaders there is the CARE program, the farm bureaus’ version of AG in the Classroom. They go into fourth grade classrooms throughout the year educating them on the history of agriculture and the process of farming.
“The program is to show children so they understand how corn sprouts and what animals do and the whole process,” Koeller said. “Because as we move through generations the farms are getting larger and there’s less people directly involved with agriculture, so we need to spread the message.”