By: Lydia Estes, staff writer
Literally “putting food on the tables,” the Hub City Farmer’s Market is a non-governmental organization that serves the Spartanburg community. They oversee a farmer’s market, urban farm, community garden and mobile market. In keeping with their motto, this organization is “more than just a market.”
Located at 498 Howard Street, Northside Harvest Park includes The Butterfly Foundation, the Monarch Cafe and Fresh Food Store, Hub City Farmer’s Market’s Saturday Market and HCFM’s Urban Farm. Located in the Northside area, the Saturday market’s close proximity to Wofford’s campus makes it accessible to students without cars – it only takes 13 minutes to walk to Harvest Park from Old Main.
The markets run regularly on Saturday mornings from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. during Wofford’s academic-calendar months. Executive Director Caroline Sexton says, “it’s a great place to come on a Saturday morning and experience Spartanburg.” Live music plays from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., but Sexton noted the best produce is available earlier in the morning.
Small businesses, like Little River Roasting Co. which sells cups of drip coffee for $1, also have tables at the market, adding t-shirts, soy candles, fresh flowers and baked goods to the list of offerings found at the market.
On the third Saturday of each month the organization offers tours, volunteering opportunities and gardening classes on “Open Farm Saturdays.” HCFM aims to address Spartanburg’s “food deserts,” or geographic areas where often low-income residents have limited access to affordable, healthy foods, and the public events are important to sustaining their mission, according to Sexton.
HCFM is particularly interested in reaching out to college students for volunteer work. Students can participate in the Urban Farm, whose mission is to educate residents on small-scale, sustainable farming.
There are other opportunities available: one of Wofford’s students, Madison Guyton ’18, currently interns for Hub City Farmer’s Market. She uses her government and environmental studies background to assist the organization in demographic studies and farm management. “Working with us is a great way to learn about how non-profit organizations operate,” Sexton says.
Monarch Café accepts Terrier Bucks, and Sexton hopes that this connection could draw more Wofford students to the farmer’s market. “I know the college-aged demographic wonders, ‘Why would a [college student] come and buy fresh produce if [they] don’t have a kitchen?’ Well, you can keep fruits in a refrigerator and you don’t necessarily have to cook some vegetables. Plus, there are great breads, cinnamon rolls and other value-added products that are great snacks.”