Students, faculty and staff have an opportunity to experience local and fresh produce when Undergraduate Student Government brings a farmers market to the South Oval Thursday.
OSU Farmers Market 2019 will include local vendors, campus resources and giveaway items. The event is being spearheaded by Jacob Kenneally, a second-year in computer science and engineering and a member of the USG student affairs committee, in conjunction with the USG sustainability committee.
Kenneally is working with other members of USG to educate students on a healthy lifestyle and make local and fresh food options more accessible.
The main goal of the farmers market is to expose the campus community to local foods, farms and agriculture in a “vibrant experiential marketplace,” Kenneally said.
Kenneally said he is anticipating more than 20 vendors at the farmers market, ranging from artisans to farmers, with the purpose of supporting local businesses. Some of the vendors will include Bailey’s Drive Inn Donuts, Haven Herbs and Global Gifts — a locally owned nonprofit organization that sells handmade items from jewelry to home goods.
Amy Phillips-Gary, store manager of Global Gifts, said she is honored to be invited and excited to bring handcrafts made by artisans from across the world to the farmers market.
“We have some really unique things that people can feel really good about buying because every purchase means an economic opportunity that helps an artisan, a farmer, producer improve their lives, educate their children,” Phillips-Gary said.
Phillips-Gary said she expects to feature some Global Gifts accessories, jewelry and woolens.
Staff herbalist Lily Kunning of Haven Herbs — a business that specializes in homemade remedies and body care — said it will be contributing to the local aspect of the farmers market, given that everyone who works and owns Haven Herbs lives in Columbus and sources botanicals from Ohio farms. The business frequents farmers markets across the city.
“It’s really lovely, actually,” Kunning said. “That’s how I’m able to get so much local sourcing of botanicals because when you work at a farmers market week after week, you really get to know all the other vendors and there’s a camaraderie there. And just talking to them about what I would need for my formulas, it’s created a whole new market for farms.”
Yellowbird Foodshed, an organization that delivers local and fresh produce to its customers through a weekly subscription and delivery service, will be among the event’s produce vendors. Kenneally shares a personal relationship with the business, as his family moved to Mount Vernon, Ohio — where Yellowbird’s farm is located — and started taking advantage of the produce available.
Kenneally said his family lived minutes from the farm, and they got to know Yellowbird’s owners and ordered produce weekly.
Kenneally said his dedication to local and fresh food stems from an interest in healthy eating that developed when his mother was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, a condition in which the thyroid does not produce enough thyroid hormone to combat health problems such as obesity, joint pain or heart disease.
“She didn’t want to take medications for the rest of her life, so she did her own research and started hearing these stories of people who use diet and lifestyle changes to kind of heal and put it into remission, so that’s what she did,” Kenneally said. “I kind of jumped on board with her, and we started just completely radically changing our whole diets and just relearning everything we thought we knew about food and health.”
His family’s interest extends to the very root of where food comes from, Kenneally said.
While sharing his story through the farmers market is a goal of Kenneally’s, he will also be communicating a similar message when he gives a TED Talk in the Ohio Union Thursday as part of the TEDx series, a program that brings local communities together to share insight in an informal setting. The TED event, called “Vital,” will feature talks surrounding college students and health care, he said.
Kenneally has been working with a speech coach over the course of six weeks for the TED Talk, in addition to working with USG and local vendors to make the farmers market possible.
OSU Farmers Market 2019 is 3-6 p.m. Thursday on the South Oval, followed by Kenneally’s TED Talk at 6 p.m. in the Ohio Union.