The Homegrown Alabama Farmers Market 2011 season begins on Thursday, May 5th. Donations of all kinds will be accepted to help those affected or displaced by the storms that swept across the southeast on April 27th.
Market customers are encouraged to donate produce and other goods purchased at the market in addition to bringing outside donations. Cash donations will be accepted in order to provide food assistance for those affected by the tornado. Other items that can’t be purchased at the market but are still needed include: can openers, tarps for covering roofs, medical supplies, batteries, flashlights, hygiene products, ponchos, underwear and socks; and baby items including diapers, formula and wipes.
2011 marks Homegrown’s fourth consecutive year as a weekly market. The market is held at the Canterbury Episcopal Chapel lawn, 812 5th Avenue in Tuscaloosa on the University of Alabama campus, every Thursday at 3-6 pm from May through October.
Musicians Ham Bagby and Friends will perform at the opening market, and activities for children, including face painting and Homegrown coloring booklets, will accompany a toy box drive. Approximately 18 vendors will attend the market throughout the season to sell fruits, vegetables, baked goods, beef, cut flowers, coffee and tea, eggs, homemade herbal teas, soap, pralines, canned goods, hot foods, and arts and crafts. Hot and prepared food vendors, including Chloe’s Cup and Carmelo Café, will attend the market throughout the season on a rotating basis. Cooking demos by local chefs will also make a return.
New to the market this year, arts and crafts vendors will sell handcrafted goods every 3rd Thursday of the month, including the Alabama Art Kitchen, an artist collective in Tuscaloosa that provides studio space and equipment to local artists as well as exhibitions, classes and workshops for the community.
Other highlights of the 2011 market season include the availability of designated parking for all market customers, locally grown, all natural grass feed beef, and the acceptance of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, formerly known as Food Stamps. An Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) machine will be at the market to transfer SNAP funds into $1 and $3 tokens with the Homegrown Alabama label. As part of an incentive program, Homegrown will match every $10 spent using SNAP with an additional $5 in tokens (while funds last).
Homegrown Alabama also participates in the Canterbury Episcopal food pantry program, Deacon’s Deli, which distributes vouchers to its patrons to purchase produce at the market. Homegrown Alabama will accept donations for those affected by the severe weather on April 27th for as long as necessary, and will accept donations for Deacon’s Deli, Meals on Wheels, and the EBT incentive program throughout the market season.
Please visit http://www.homegrownalabama.org for updates on what is needed by the affected community and for other aid opportunities and news. For more information on the EBT incentive program and how to donate, call (205) 210-9621 or visit http://www.homegrownalabama.org/support.
Vendors at this year’s market include:
Folsom Custom Cuts
Oak Hill Angus
Cheeky Maiden Soap Company
The Urban Herbwife
Homegrown Alabama is a non-profit, student-led group at the University of Alabama that seeks to educate students and community members about the value of local produce, as well as foster partnerships between local farmers, the University of Alabama, and the greater Tuscaloosa community.