The Ward 8 Farmers Market, now in its 13th year, re-opens Saturday at THEARC.

John Gloster, founder and president of the Ward 8 Farmers’ Market organization, likened the market to a community self-empowerment project. He added that the secret to the market’s longevity is its familial atmosphere and relationship with both farmers and the community.

“We’re very, very big on the idea that those people who have been left out of the equation need to have better [food] choices,” he said.

The market will host live food demonstrations, farmers from Pennsylvania, southern Maryland and Virginia and showcase breads and sweets from Firehook Bakery. To help make fresh foods accessible to everyone, the market accepts foodstamps, WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program coupons, and senior grocery coupons.

The market opened after a nearby Safeway on Milwaukee Place closed in the late-nineties. “In a ward where you have [an] enormous epidemic of extreme obesity, diabetes, high blood felt like we had to do something.” After unsuccessfully lobbying city government for help, Gloster and a team of supporters decide to create their own outpost, which is operating out of THE ARC for the second year.

“When you start a farmers’ market in an area like Ward 8, there’s a lot of natural barriers that people underestimate, “ Glouster said. “When money is tight, it’s hard to wrap your mind around the idea that I should pay a little bit more for something that has a high nutritional value. But over time, through education and through just tasting the difference in the food, people came around from complaining about paying a little bit more to realizing that they’re investing in themselves.”

The Ward 8 Farmers’ Market will be open from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. every Saturday until Thanksgiving. Visit the Market’s page on THEARC website for more information and updates.

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