Spring Means Farm Fresh in Region 4
June 11, 2013
GSA sponsors “midday markets” outside the Sam Nunn Federal Center and Peachtree Summit Federal Building in downtown Atlanta and the Internal Revenue Service Campus in Chamblee, GA. The newest GSA farmers’ market is at the Mazzoli Federal Building in Louisville, KY. Region 4 is the proud home of four unique farmers markets.
The CDC defines “food deserts” as an “area that lacks access to affordable fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low fat milk, and other foods that make up the full range of a healthy diet.” In a downtown food scene dominated by fast food shops, GSA’s farmers markets are an oasis of healthy eating options for federal employees and visitors alike.
Maybe the hardest part of any journey is the beginning. GSA associate Julie Baird, Property Manager, Kentucky Service Center took on the challenge and shares her experiences:
During one of my visits to Atlanta, there was a farmers’ market going on in front of the Sam Nunn Federal Center. I really enjoyed buying fresh produce during my lunch break and as I recall - fresh fruit ended up being my whole lunch that day! After returning to Louisville - I started looking into the rules and regulations for not only farmers’ markets, but what was required for market vendors. We have a perfect location - in front of the Mazzoli Federal Building. I did a lot of research and created the application and the market rules - which I submitted to GSA legal. I finally received approval in May 2012, and we started having the market on the second Wednesday of each month. It only took one month for both vendors and tenants to begin asking for the market to be held more frequently so we started having it twice a month. Everyone really enjoys coming outside, grabbing lunch, and sitting at picnic tables listening to music or browsing the booths. Once winter weather came, I moved the market indoors to some vacant space we have on the first floor while working with the Department of Agriculture to get our market sanctioned as 'Kentucky Proud’.
This year’s market is now up to 15 vendors and we hold it every Wednesday. Not only do we draw business from federal agencies in the Mazzoli Building and the Gene Snyder Federal Courthouse, but also from several local offices. This truly has been a labor of love.
Locally grown products move consumers closer to their food source and deepen the appreciation for sustainable living in our personal and professional lives. They help us connect with our collective priority of ‘Making a more Sustainable Government.” In so doing, we lead by example and further equally important priorities to “serve our partners” and “expand opportunities for small businesses.”
The drive toward sustainable and healthy living has become part of our agency’s DNA. For an increasing number of workers and visitors, access to locally produced, affordable, high quality and sustainable products is as easy as strolling through the courtyard.