Kent State of Well-being Teaming Up with Local Farmers' Market

Kent State of Well-being is teaming up with the Haymaker Farmers’ Market to provide those on campus with a unique opportunity to purchase locally sourced items and learn more about the inner workings of the trade.

The Haymakers Farmers’ Market is Portage County’s oldest producers-only farmers’ market. It offers a wide variety of locally grown and produced items ranging from fresh fruits and vegetables to herbs and fresh-cut flowers to handmade soaps, lotions, and body care products.

Often discussed in previous years, a recent update to the Kent State of Well-being strategic plan put a new charge into the collaboration. As a result, a steering committee was assembled, and soon, the planning began.   

The Kent State Farmers' Market steering committee consists of:

  • Andrew Rome – Haymaker Farmers’ Market 
  • Heather Malarcik – Main Street Kent
  • Ann Myers – Kent Student Center
  • Dana Lawless-Andric – Kent State Outreach and Engagement
  • Jennifer Gehring – Kent State Outreach and Engagement 
  • J.R. Campbell – Kent State Design Innovation
  • Kim Hauge – Employee Wellness
  • Michael Vig – University Culinary Services 
  • Eliot Norris – University Culinary Services 
  • Casey Crane – University Culinary Services
  • Elizabeth Michel – Recreational Services
  • Jim Kraus – Recreational Services
  • Kim Rufra – Recreation and Wellness Services
  • Margot Paolucci – Undergraduate Student Government 

The idea was first proposed by former Kent State of Well-being Director, Melissa Celko, who started the discussion with Market Manager Andrew Rome. Associate Dean of Students and Director of Recreation and Wellness Services, Kim Rufra has taken lead on the project and kept the positive momentum going.

“The mission of this event is to provide students with opportunities to learn about the local farming community, select fresh produce, and connect with the broader Kent community,” said Rufra. “The idea is to create a community around food with a warm, friendly, and fun environment.” 

With the details still being finalized, the steering committee plans to recruit 15-25 vendors for each event in collaboration with Kent State. Vendors will include current participants of the Haymaker Farmers' Market weekly event and offer goods from fresh produce, meats, and baked goods to flowers, live plants, and artwork. 

The Kent State Farmers' Market will accept a token or voucher system including FlashCash, credit/debit cards, SNAP food assistant benefits, Produce Perks food assistance, P-EBT, and the WIC Farmers' Market Nutrition Program. The Farmers' Market will also work with  University Culinary Services to arrange institutional purchases from participating vendors, when possible, by connecting local growers and businesses to the culinary team.

The Farmers' Market will be more than just about locally sourced items for sale on the Kent campus. According to Rufra, the plan is to include students in performances (music, dance, theater), craft sales (photography, prints, glass, fiber), and educational workshops and demonstrations related to food. Examples of future workshops include soil building, foraging, mushroom cultivation, intro to permaculture, growing herbs, and more. 

“A cross-functional and community-inclusive team will collaborate to create and sustain this exciting new program,” said Rufra. “Increasing the campus community’s access to fresh food while supporting local farmers and businesses is a win-win for Kent State and the community.”

Rome, who serves as the Market Manager for Haymaker, agreed this partnership is valuable for all involved by not only incorporating local food into life on campus but supporting local family farms who have fed the Portage County area for generations. 

“By bringing the farmers' market experience to Kent State, we can dramatically increase local food exposure to thousands of people on campus,” said Rome. “I am hopeful these markets will be a great beginning to our partnership.”

The Kent State Farmers' Market will be open per the following schedule:

  • 4 - 7 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021, on Risman Plaza Student Green 
  • 4 - 7 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021, on Risman Plaza Student Green 
  • 4 - 7 p.m., Tuesday, Mar. 22, 2022, at the Design Innovation Hub
  • 4 - 7 p.m., Tuesday, Apr. 26, 2022, at the Design Innovation Hub

The Haymakers Farmers’ Market outdoor season occurs April to November from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Franklin Avenue between Main Street and Summit Street under the Haymaker overpass. When the weather turns cold, the indoor season takes place from December-March each Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the United Methodist Church of Kent on 1435 East Main Street. 

For more information on Kent State of Well-being, visit the website.

For more information about the Haymakers Farmers' Market, visit its website.

UPDATED: Saturday, December 03, 2022 01:02 AM