BY SOUTHERN BRITT
The vibrant mid-week Athens Farmers Market can make grocery shopping more than an errand. It’s also a community hangout.
Every Wednesday, a community gathers in a marketplace that allows for a healthy economic and educational dynamic to coincide with support for sustainable agriculture and local craftsmanship. Fresh food, music and beer connect farmers, community members and artisans in downtown Athens, Georgia at Creature Comforts Brewing Company.
“What better way to connect than agriculture, food, and music,” said Hearts of Harvest Farm vendor and farmerTanner Martinelli. “These are the few things that everyone can relate to. Especially at a place like this where you can just hang out and have community.”
This market hosts a special type of community. The colorful array of vegetables were accompanied with hugs, the bakery stand attracted both regulars and the first-time customers, and the flower bouquets’ and candles’ aroma wafted through the outdoor pavilion, perfectly encompassing its light-hearted atmosphere.
“It’s not a competition, all the farmers and vendors are here to help each other,” says Hickory Hill Farm’s Josh Johns, who has been a part of this particular market for five years.
The market’s sense of friendship starts with the staff. Market manager Sarah Thurman said she thinks of the market as her family. As an experienced farmer, she can “empathize with the vendors’ hardships and aims to help them in their hustle.” By coordinating the Wednesday Farmers Market, she can do just that.
The event credits much of its success to the help and generosity of Creature Comforts Brewing Company, as Creature Comforts helped the market evolve into what is is today and still plays a huge part in the market. The brewing company reaches a new clientele; Creature Comforts attracts people who have never been introduced to the farmers markets.
“[The Wednesday Athens Farmers Market] saved our business,” said Figment Kombucha’s Jason Dean.
Creature Comforts gives back the vendors. For every beer purchased during the market, the brewing company gives $2 worth of tokens to spend at the event. As further encouragement to the market, they even repaved its pavement grey to help make it less hot for the vendors.
The Athens Farmers Market is a non-profit organization that builds a community around fresh food and happy people. With an overarching goal of improving community health, the market goes out of its way to ensure a quality time, inviting dogs, families, farmers, and beer-fanatics every Wednesday from 4- 7 p.m.