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Farm market program shares secrets of direct sales

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Written Friday, November 18, 2005  

Fresh, local produce helps those who buy it and also those who grow it.

Find out how in the next public lecture by Ohio State University's Organic Food and Farming Education and Research (OFFER) program, "The Bounty of Northeast Ohio at Your Farmers' Markets: How Selling Direct Has Helped Save Family Farms."

The program takes place at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 28 at the Mustard Seed Market & Café, 6025 Kruse Dr., Solon, Ohio.

Donita Anderson, executive director of the North Union Farmers Market, will speak. In 1995, she helped found the market in Shaker Heights, east of Cleveland, work for which she was featured in Gourmet magazine and the New York Times and was named North America's best farmers' market manager in 2001.

The market now has six locations throughout greater Cleveland. Their purpose: To succeed as farmers' markets and to teach people about the benefits of eating fresh and local foods.

"Every dollar spent at a farmers' market circulates through the state economy seven times," Anderson told E: The Environmental Magazine in 2003. "Moreover, when growers reap the rewards of their efforts directly, without the expense of middlemen, they have a better chance of staying in business. That translates into keeping green spaces around our cities because when small-scale farming is not economically feasible, housing developments grow instead and malls take over the countryside."

The talk is part of a monthly series sponsored by OFFER and the organic retailer. Admission is $5. Advance registration is required. To register, call (440) 519-3663.

Established in 1998, OFFER maintains and conducts experiments on some 50 acres of certified organic research land and teams 20 Ohio State scientists in a range of fields, from soil micro-organisms to weed control to taste tests to farmer co-ops.

OFFER members work for the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, OSU Extension, or both.

Mustard Seed Market & Café, with locations in Akron and Solon, is Ohio's first certified organic retailer and northeastern Ohio's largest retailer of natural and organic products.

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