farmersmktGrow Local, Eat Local:

Owens Valley Growers Cooperative launches Southern Inyo Certified Farmer’s Market

Southern Inyo growers have formed the Owens Valley Growers Cooperative (OVGC) to support local farmers and improve access to local produce.  OVGC has joined with Eastern Sierra Certified Farmers Market to launch the Southern Inyo Certified Farmers Market.

The Market will begin on May 17 at the Mairs Market parking lot in Independence and May 24 at the Metabolic Studio IOU Garden in Lone Pine, both between 4 and 7 pm.  It will rotate between the sites each Friday thereafter.

The spring market will feature seasonal produce like lettuce, rhubarb, spinach, mesclun, green onions, radishes, chard, carrots, beets, and kale. OVGC also hopes to have some local fruit available by the end of May.  Once the weather warms up, farmers will begin bringing in tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers, eggplants, peppers, summer and winter squash, and summer fruit.  Several OVGC members are using season extension techniques, which should allow the market to continue into the fall and winter.

Mairs  Market Space Reactivated

The Owens Valley Growers Cooperative, comprised of approximately 25 growers between Big Pine and Olancha, has been meeting since last fall to support local growing and added value agriculture efforts.  With the support of the Metabolic Studio, OVGC has secured a section of the old Mairs Market space as a hub for growers’ meetings, trainings, equipment storage, and ultimately, distribution.

“It has been part of our dream for a long time to have a local food operation run out of the Mairs Space again,” explains Ben Holgate, a Co-op Member and grower who grew up in Independence and watched the market close soon after returning to the Valley.  “Hosting the Farmers Market at Mairs is the beginning of our journey to re-create a space which serves the southern Owens Valley community and improves our local food security.”

Improving Access

Owens Valley Growers Cooperative strives to provide universal access to healthy food choices while also supporting small local farmers.  Produce will be available by sale from farmers and by sliding scale donation from community gardens.

“My family and I are thrilled to be a part of the Owens Valley Growers Cooperative as it brings farmers like us together to enhance our community, boost the local economy, and nourish local residents— providing access to healthy, affordable and nutrient dense food,”  says Jennifer Weston of Glacier Botanicals in Big Pine. “We are looking forward to the opening of our Farmers Markets in Independence and Lone Pine as a great beginning to our project and future efforts, and hope to see you there!”

To offer produce at the Eastern Sierra Certified Farmers Market, you must be certified as a local grower.  Those interested should contact Ben Holgate at 760-878-8348.

Overwhelming Community Support

“This group has taken a grassroots movement and begun working together to improve our local communities in a number of ways,”  according to Pastor Erin McPhee of the Pioneer Memorial Methodist Church. “ On the one hand, this is an incredible opportunity to provide consistent access to delicious, healthy, local produce, particularly for folks with limited access. On the other hand, I am also excited about the economic potential, particularly with the new cottage food law now in effect, as a new venue is created for growers and sellers to make a living and support themselves and their families, to keep our money local, and to improve the sustainability and self-sufficiency of all of our Southern Inyo County communities.”

In addition to the Owens Valley Growers Cooperative, Eastern Sierra Certified Farmer’s Market, and the Metabolic Studio LLC, the Southern Inyo Farmers Market is sponsored by the Independence Civic Club, Pioneer Memorial Methodist Church, Independence Community Garden, and Lone Pine Lions Club.

Southern Inyo Certified Farmers Market

Grand Opening

With Music By Coale Johnson!

Friday, May 17 Friday, May 24

4 pm-7 pm 4 pm-7 pm

Mairs Market Parking Lot Metabolic Studio IOU Garden

395@ Kearsarge, Independence Main St. @ Willow, Lone Pine

The Market will rotate between the Independence and Lone Pine sites each Friday thereafter.

The Bishop Farmers Market will open on Saturday June 29th on Church St. between 9 and 11 am.  The Mammoth Lakes Market will open on Wed. July 3 from 4-7 pm on Main St.

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