Church starts summer farmers market


Two residents walk down Normal Road Friday. The neighborhood around St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on Normal Road is planning to start a summer farmers market. The market will feature a pay-as-you-can system, among other amenities.

By Rhea Riley

St. Paul Episcopal Church has collaborated with local organizations to create a farmers market for the summer.

The church will allow the community to attend and receive fresh produce grown from the church’s gardens 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the last Saturday of each month beginning June 28.

The idea to build a farmers market came from Thrive, a program within the church made to revitalize the congregation and outreach work to better the community, which teamed up with DeKalb County Community Gardens, Feed’em Soup, 122 S. First St., and the DeKalb Public Library, 309 Oak St.

Dan Kenney, executive director and president of the DeKalb County Community Gardens, founded the Community Gardens three years ago.

DeKalb County has recently became aware of a food desert, or a lack of a full-service grocery store within two miles of a certain area, within the community, Kenney said.

A full-service grocery store is defined as a store with dairy, produce and meat sections and other varieties of food. The food desert is located in the northwest section of DeKalb near the church.

Along with the desert, 13.9 percent of people in DeKalb County reported being food insecure in 2011, the most recent year for which data is available, according to Feeding America.

“I saw the need among kids I was working with in the schools, so I started a school garden, and during the summer I would take the extra produce to the food pantry,” Kenney said. “… I saw how important it was that they had fresh produce. They don’t get fresh vegetables very often.”

Christina Krueger, Thrive leader and garden coordinator, and Stacy Walker-Frontjes, St. Paul Episcopal Church reverend, have put effort into getting the market running.

“We love our neighbors and we want everybody to have access to healthy food for their families,” Krueger said. “This is just one way to show our love for the community. We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the community, and we want to give back in some way.”

DeKalb County Community Gardens is assisting Thrive in bringing fresh produce, as well as accompanying the group’s member in the preparation of the gardens on the church grounds.

“I think what we are hoping is just to provide a fun market atmosphere for the neighborhood … provide some fresh produce for people and also for a way for people to connect and get to know each other better in the neighborhood,” Walker-Frontjes said.

The market is open to anyone who wants access to fresh vegetables, especially for those with limited income. The market will also have a pay-as-you-can system with the proceeds donated back into the program.

Members of the community are also welcome to donate any of their produce from their own gardens.