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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    UA Farmers’ Market calls it quits

    The Farmers’ Market at the UA has been discontinued for the summer and indefinitely, Perlana Howard, vendor coordinator and UA intern, announced in an e-mail on Monday. The e-mail cited budget cuts and low vendor turnout as the main causes for the decision.

    “”The U of A tried their best. They really enjoyed our program, but they couldn’t find the means to continue it in the fall just because the economy has been so bad,”” Howard said in an interview.

    Market coordinator Gale Welter said economic and management factors went into the decision made last week.

    “”When I started the market three years ago, none of us had any idea how much time it would take,”” Welter said. In addition to the market, she is a nutrition counselor for Campus Health Service.

    A coordinator for the market was hired last year, but the person transferred around the end of January 2009, Welter said.

    “”And then by that time, the economy and the impact on the university was fully known and we were unable, and we still are unable, to fill that position,”” she said. So Welter took over the position again.

    “”In the meantime vendors were not being supported, they weren’t making enough revenue,”” Welter said.

    “”By the time we ended our spring market we had, I believe, eight vendors where when we started the market we had 24 vendors,”” said Suzanne Dhruv, market vendor coordinator.

    She said vendors could not afford to drive to the market if they were leaving with much of their goods unsold.

    The market moved to Main Gate Square in September 2008. Everyone had hoped that the new location would improve traffic and sales.

    “”We moved in order to expand the community … to get the community involved,”” Welter said.

    There are no current plans to continue the market in the future, she said. But Welter was concerned that the market’s absence will affect at least one specific UA group.

    “”The group that is most directly affected … that I’m going to be working with to replace this opportunity is the nutrition classes that had in their curriculum tabling at the farmers’ market,”” Welter said.

    “”That was such a valuable experience. I know as a dieitian we are asked frequently to do that, and it’s not totally intuitive to have a good experience with it.””

    Anyone interested in finding other farmers’ markets can contact Perlana Howard at perlanah@email.arizona.edu.

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