University of South Carolina to launch monthly ‘Healthy Carolina Farmers Market’ Sept. 16

September 6, 2008

COLUMBIA, SC – September 5, 2008 – The University of South Carolina will launch a monthly farmers market Tuesday, Sept. 16.

The Healthy Carolina Farmers Market will operate from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. between the gates on Green Street in front of the Russell House University Union. While intended for students, faculty and staff, as part of the university’s Healthy Carolina initiative, the farmers market also will be open to the public.

It will feature fresh, local produce and natural products by South Carolina farmers. Like grocers, farmers will sell their produce and products by the piece and in bulk. Products will be competitively priced; only cash will be accepted. In addition, university staff will offer nutrition information, recipes for seasonal produce and other materials to encourage healthy living.

Michelle Burcin, director of Healthy Carolina, said a farmers market will add an important dimension to the university’s Healthy Carolina initiative.

“The goal of Healthy Carolina is to make healthy choices simple,” she said. “This Healthy Carolina Farmers Market will do exactly that by providing our students, faculty and staff with easy access to healthy products and produce. It also will give the university community the opportunity to support South Carolina growers, which is healthy for the state.”

The university has teamed with the S.C. Department of Agriculture to offer the monthly markets, with more scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 22, and Thursday, Nov. 13.

Vendors on Sept. 16 will come from Blythewood, Chapin, Lexington, Pelion, Rembert, Swansea, Columbia, Effingham, Vance and West Columbia. They will sell produce, gourmet and organic vegetables, pork, chicken and 100 percent grass-fed beef products and bakery items. Natural products will include soy candles, honey, goats-milk soap and beeswax candles. In addition, there will be folk art, hand-painted glass trivets and Carolina ornaments and assorted Christmas items for sale.

First Lady Patricia Moore-Pastides, along with student-body president Andrew Gaeckle and S.C. Commissioner of Agriculture Hugh Weathers, will officially launch the market Sept. 16 with a ribbon cutting and a program featuring short remarks.

The Healthy Carolina Farmers Market is part of a national collegiate trend to promote nutrition education and sustainable agriculture (buying fresh produce from local farmers) to students, faculty and staff.

Traditionally, college farmers markets were only seen at institutions with agricultural-science units. Burcin said, particularly in the last 18 months, farmers markets have quickly become a mainstay at many public and private universities and colleges nationwide.

The University of South Carolina’s Healthy Carolina Farmers Market is co-sponsored by the S.C. Department of Agriculture and Student Government Association at the university.

For more information, contact Holly Harring at 803-777-0597 or via e-mail at 803-777-0597. For more information on Healthy Carolina, visit the Web site: