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Joliet Could Have 3 Farmers Markets This Summer When JJC Joins the Mix

The college has a two-year federal grant to fund the weekly event; the only unknown now is whether the farmers market at the mall will be returning.

Joliet could find its cup runneth over with fresh produce this summer when Joliet Junior College's farmers market joins two others already selling their wares to city residents.

JJC will launch a new market this year, using a two-year, $92,059 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture meant to expand the availability of locally grown fruits and vegetables in Joliet.

Details are still being finalized, but it is known the market will be held from 3 to 7 p.m. every Thursday from May 23 to Oct. 24 on the college's main campus, 1215 Houbolt Road, Joliet, JJC spokeswoman Rachel Rose said. It will be overseen by Donna Theimer, chairman of the Agriculture/Horticulture/Vet Tech Department.

The college's event will join the long-established Downtown Joliet Farmers Market that's held every Friday in the summer on Van Buren Plaza and Chicago Street. And, potentially, it will also compete with the Will County Farmers Market, which debuted last year on Sundays at the Louis Joliet Mall. Both run from June through September.

However, it's not yet known if the market at the mall -- sponsored by the Senior Services Center of Will County -- will be returning. The shopping center was purchased by Starwood Capital Group last summer, and no decisions have been made yet on its return, mall Marketing Director Alysia Gordon said Tuesday.

"We're really just starting to talk about 2013," Gordon said.

As for JJC's market, the grant money is to be used to "expand (the school's annual) farmers market into a weekly event, purchase market supplies and equipment, secure promotional materials and advertising, conduct training and outreach for farmers and consumers, and obtain Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) capacity to serve the neighborhood’s low‐income residents," according to a news release announcing the initiative.

JJC was one of 131 projects in 39 states to receive funding under the USDA’s Farmers Market Promotion Program.

The school has already started the process of establishing the market, with bid proposals for equipment being accepted through Tuesday. Among the items being purchased are pop-up tents, tables, chairs, and rack/panel movers.

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Grandma Says January 30, 2013 at 01:56 PM
With the Friday Downtown Farmer's Market, the Sunday one at the mall, a third one sponsored by JJC and produce from my own small vegetable garden, this could be the healthiest summer of my life. Bring it on. There could never be too many Farmer's Markets in our area!
John Roberts January 30, 2013 at 03:03 PM
Does anyone know if any pesticides will be used..like round up...Compatible growing is best.Not trying to start a big thing I have a garden of my own but can not grow all of it But..Here is why i ask: all the chemicals Monsanto (who makes round up and others) are known to the state of California to cause cancer...Plus Monsanto and their chemicals have been kicked out of 28 Countries and their chemicals banned from use,All of Europe,Switzerland,Saudi Arabia,.almost every country in the East including Russia..28 all together...Obama made the Lobbyest for Monsanto Head of Our FDA when he got rid of Lobbyest in Washington ( Supposedly got rid of them) but just gave them all jobs...Compatiable Growing is planting things together or next to each other that an insect that attacks one plant is repelled by the plant next to it..like garlic,onions and carrots...the insect that attacks the onion is repelled by the carrots,the insect that attacks the carrots is repelled by the garlic..and so on...Just wondering or if food is going to be GMO.....Geneticly Modified Organisim..(seeds that come with pesticide already put into the genetics of the seed,or altered to give more of a quantity for sales) .which to me is just as bad....would like to know though...
Our Town January 30, 2013 at 05:40 PM
All food offered should be labeled and grown by the people selling it. Let the consumers decide whether they want Organic or commercial (GMO) produce. If it is called a Farmers' market then vendors buying wholesale from a produce broker should not be allowed.
John Roberts January 30, 2013 at 05:49 PM
I agree,with the labeling...but for selling if the school can keep up with the produce demand of the local businesses and still grow correctly without pesticides, and make enough money to support its self and not have to get Federal Grants that come with restrictions that to me is better...And selling anything has its rule in most that the more you buy the cheaper it is..to me it makes competition and cheaper prices..
Outlaw January 30, 2013 at 10:27 PM
O.M.G. Mrs. Roberts. Hows Martha Stewart and Rachael Ray?

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