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Ivywild School has been hosting the Colorado Farms and Arts Market every Wednesday since June 12, 2013. The Colorado Farm and Arts Market aims to promote the collaboration between consumers and local farm produce, while also incorporating the arts into this partnership. At the market, you will find anything from fresh fruits and vegetables to jewelry and clothes.

This summer was Nicole Fetterhoff’s first year as market manager. She was ecstatic about how popular the market was with the Colorado Springs community. “Spreading the word about local-grown goods was the goal for this year. It’s important to know where your food comes from and everyone has the right to know,” she explained.

As an organizer for the market, Fetterhoff was delighted by the equal excitement of the vendors and the shoppers. She emphasized that there were so many vendors because of the limitation of space and competition.

Not only did the market include a variability of local products, but it also displayed booths dedicated to educating people about local farms. Flying Carrots, composed of UC Colorado Springs graduate students, is an organization dedicated to sustainability in partnership with the Pikes Peak Community Foundation.

A UCCS grad student, Nuwanee Kirihennedige, works for Flying Carrots and says that her favorite part of the day is when children come with their parents.  “There was a girl who had never wanted to eat her vegetables before, and I offered her one, and she tried it and loved it. Her mother was in shock,” said Kirihennedige. As she starts working towards a dietician degree, Kirihennedige wants to impact families’ lives when it comes to eating healthily.

Apart from vendors that sold local grown fruits and vegetables, there were also booths that sold art and hygiene products, such as jewelry, clothes, soap, and paint. Katie Orr is a self-employed artist that makes her jewelry out of old machines and objects.

Each piece of jewelry is unique, and that is what she enjoys the most about her career. She appreciates the youth that come and ask her for advice about becoming an artist and a designer. “Educating people about you love and having them trade ideas with you is fascinating. It’s a full circle of awesomeness between the vendors and shoppers,” she said.

Shoppers at the market roamed back and forth between booths to find the best foods they could get. Many of them knew the vendors because of how often they had been to the market. “Everywhere I go, I like to build personal connections between the local farmers that grow the food that I’ll be eating,” said Jackson Foster, a sophomore at Colorado College.

Foster is not on the meal plan because he prefers to select his food and cook it himself. The diversity of foods that are grown in the community excites, and has him going back to the market every week.

The Colorado Farms and Arts market continues to make an impact on the knowledge of local food and products in the community. Ivywild School is expected to be the location for next year’s market again, so keep your eyes open for events on the Colorado Farms and Arts market website and Facebook page. If possible, the organizers are also hoping to be able to open markets in the winter and spring.  For now, the market will end next Wednesday, Oct. 9. Be sure, if you have the chance, to support your local vendors.

Karen Rojas-Palacios, Guest Writer

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