Most college students survive on a tight budget to pay for tuition, housing and other unavoidable expenses such as food. For some, that means living off of ramen noodles and pizza rolls. However, there are other options that can fit into the budgets of students.
Going to college in the heart of downtown Atlanta, it may seem as though finding fresh produce is a futile effort. Luckily, there are plenty of farmers markets in Atlanta where students can find fresh products to make healthy and sustainable meals.
COMMUNITY FARMERS MARKETS
Community Farmers Markets is an organization whose aim is to promote local farmers markets in the greater Atlanta area and neighborhood communities. All farmers markets associated with the organization accept electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards in exchange for “tokens” to purchase products from vendors that are worth double each food stamp. For example, $5 worth of food stamps would give a customer $10 to spend at participating markets.
Traditionally, fresh ingredients are more expensive than heavily processed foods. Doubling EBT is a greatopportunity to bring out a lot of people that wouldn’t normally be able to shop locally because of the higher prices.
Caleb Loyd is a vendor with Community Farmers Market. He works with Honey Next Door, which sells honey from local farms.
“If we didn’t have a farmers market, the local farmers wouldn’t have a source of income,” Loyd said. “Farmers markets keep them afloat and helps the community by boosting the local economy. Without them, there would be no local economy.”
EAST ATLANTA VILLAGE FARMERS MARKET
Founded in 2006, East Atlanta Village Farmers Market (EAV), is a great resource for the community that it serves by being a member of the Community Farmers Market. It’s open on Thursdays from 4-8pm from April 11 to Nov. 21.
The market hosts special events such as Free Fried Okra Day, live music and sometimes chefs teaching neighbors the ins and outs of cooking with local products. EAV was voted Reader’s Pick for the best outdoor farmers market in Atlanta by Creative Loafing 5 years in a row.
All produce and products, from vegetables to pasta, are sustainably and ethically grown and produced. The market is also dog-friendly, along with promoting community wellness, sustainable living and local business
Jessica Posey is a regular customer at the East Atlanta Village Farmers Market.
“Going to the farmer’s market is a fun weekly activity. I love the sense of community. The live music is cool too,” Posey said.
As a resident in East Atlanta Village, Posey admires the convenience of her local farmers market.
“I don’t have to run to the grocery store for dinner. I can get most of the key ingredients for cooking here,” Posey said. “Sometimes, when I come to the farmers market, I can make an entire meal from what I buy.”
DECATUR FARMERS MARKET
Another option for students to shop for fresh and local ingredients is the Decatur Farmers Market. The market has been open every Wednesday from 4 to 7 p.m. for the past two years.
It’s hosted by Just Bakery of Atlanta, a non-profit that helps refugees with job training and professional certification. Their mission is to “create a more diverse, compassionate, and connected community for all and bake with local and sustainable ingredients whenever possible.”
GRANT PARK FARMERS MARKET
Grant Park Farmers Market is open on Sundays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. from April 7 to Dec. 15. According to the Community Farmers Markets’ website, this market offers weekly celebrity chef demonstrations.
Jayida Ché Herbal Tea Spot is a vendor at Grant Park. “Jayida Ché” means “a good cup of tea” in Arabic and French. The business was founded by Aleathia Saleem and Mariyah Sabir. Saleem’s daughter, Hanan Threats, gave insight into their family business.
“We grew up drinking tea and we made a business out of it,” Threats said.
Jayida Ché Herbal Tea Spot has two local shops on Moreland and Fayetteville Road along with frequenting farmers markets such as EAV and Ponce. They’re currently working on opening up a third location.
“If we’re short [on cash], pop-up shops and farmers markets help us make that extra money and attract more business,” Threats said. “Most people wouldn’t know about our shops if it weren’t for local farmers markets.”