For the past 10 years since Kim Zandstra made the choice to eat organic foods, she’s had to keep driving outside Forest Park to find what she needs.
“The more I talked to farmers, the more and I learned and became passionate,” she said.
Zandstra is now bringing her finds back to Forest Park. She’s spearheading the creation of a farmers’ market, which will start in early June and be open every other week.
This farmers’ market, she says, will serve the dual purpose of bringing local foods to the community and supplying fresh foods to the Forest Park Food Pantry. Vendors at the market will be asked to make a donation of $10 worth of their produce to the food pantry. Zandstra hopes this exchange will get the word out about making healthier food choices with locally grown foods.
Although plans are still being finalized, the farmers’ market will be host to a variety of vendors. Zandstra says she has at least a dozen vendors lined up and that this will be “a true farmers’ market that is food-oriented.” She is also planning on including some sort of entertainment for families, such as music or a magician.
“I’ve gotten a lot of positive responses, because people like that it’s Friday nights,” Zandstra said. “To seek out a local farmers’ market is a little inconvenient, so we want to give people more than one reason to be there.”
The market’s focus is on the local. The food purveyors are local farmers, who raise their own produce or animals and do not process the product for consumption. The food processors, people who do canning, make salsa, or bake, use at least 25 percent local ingredients. The non-food purveyors are local businesses.
Vendors will include fruit and produce growers, meat producers, and bakers, including a woman who makes her own bread. There will also be a knife-sharpener and a woman who grows and makes her own herbal skin products.
Zandstra says she is a firm believer in supporting family farms and eating locally grown goods. “As a society, we’ve gotten away from knowing where food comes from. We have to reassume that responsibility and seek out food sources of healthy food.”