BATAVIA — With the Genesee Country Farmers Market asking for vendors to participate in its 2022 season, those involved with the market or who visit it are encouraging the city to support it again this year.
Janet Goodenbery of Rooted in Joy Farm, 6597 Albion Rd. in Oakfield, a city resident for 17 years before moving, spoke at Monday night’s City Council Business Meeting on behalf of the market. This would be the market’s seventh year in the city, she said.
She said the market’s request to use the parking lot at the former JCPenney store, site of the Genesee Country Farmers’ Market, was submitted. Her understanding is that the request will be considered at the board’s March 28 meeting.
“I know many of you support us and have been there,” she said. “I want you to know that the farmers’ market is valuable to the community because we supply fresh produce from the area. The best food comes from the people you know. It keeps money here in the GLOW Region, too. It helps the local economy and the community’s supporting each other, (which) is what we really want.”
Goodenbery said there are people who walk to the market, ride their bicycles to get exercise and pick up fresh vegetables.
“We have many people, especially since the pandemic started, that have limited transportation and live right in the area, so it’s (the market) very accessible for them,” she said. “The Healthy Living center (Healthy Living Campus project on Main Street) is going to go right across the street. I know we may not be able to be there forever, but I think it ties all in with healthy living.”
Goodenbery said the market participates in programs which help the local residents, particularly low-income residents. She said the market is part of the Suppplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). It accepts Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards and has a program in July and August in which families can, every time the market is open, purchase market tokens for $20 and also receive $20 worth of other tokens. Those other tokens can be used for fresh produce.
“If a family came to the market three times a week, a budget of $60 would buy them $120 worth of food. I think it’s really helpful for many of our local families,” Goodenbery said.
Goodenbery noted that many vendor applications for the market start going out at this time of year.
“If you could put sort of a high priority on taking a look at our application and accepting it and letting us know, that would really be helpful for us,” she told Council. “We really need to send out applications, receive them back, consider who we have room for at the market and the market manager has to figure out where everybody’s going to be placed.”
Goodenbery said she would like to know whether people can be present at the City Council’s Business Meeting March 28.
Christine Zinni of 31 Pringle Ave. thanked the City Council said the market is an important topic from an educational perspective.
“I’ve been a recipient of some of the wonderful food that is offered at this market. I teach food and culture classes at the State University of New York at Brockport,” Zinni said. “I talk to a lot of young people about what that means to have healthy produce, to be out in the open air and be able to connect with others on a face-to-face basis. It’s helped me to have that resource (the market) so close — to be able to walk or bike and the healthful benefits of fresh food,” she said.