Reviews | Iowa City Farmer’s Market supports local shopping

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The Farmer’s Market recently celebrated its 50th anniversary –– half a century of providing the community with fresh local produce options.


The columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations with which the author may be involved.


The Iowa City Farmer’s Market is a sight to behold, even in a downpour.

Vendors selling fresh produce, flowers, coffee and baked goods bring throngs of people to East Washington Street and the Chauncey Swan parking ramp, rain or shine. Customers come to listen to live music, meet friends and, above all, support local businesses.

Buying food from the market contributes to the local economy, supports sustainable farming practices, ensures freshness and leaves a smaller environmental footprint than commercial options.

Last August was the 50th anniversary of the Iowa City Farmer’s Market. August marked half a century of valuable local business involvement in the Iowa City community.

The accessibility of out-of-season or non-native produce in grocery stores is often taken for granted. When shopping at grocery stores, consumers tend to pay little attention to where the food is grown or produced. Most brands do not have their sources or farming practices described on the label.

Grocery chains often have products shipped from across the country (or multiple countries) to be made available to the public. The price of non-indigenous produce is higher and the quality is often lower than that of locally grown produce due to transportation.

Iowa City Farmers’ Market vendors, being largely local, have a shorter distance to travel in more fuel-efficient modes of transportation than commercial planes or trucks carrying groceries.

Local sellers also tend to use more durable or reusable packaging and supply products that are guaranteed to be fresh. Rainbow Roots Farmlocated five miles north of Iowa City, is operated by a few field employees to grow certified organic produce.

Owner and manager of Rainbow Roots Farm Corbin Scholz says there are several reasons why the farm team brings their fresh vegetables to market.

“We come to the Farmer’s Market because we want to share our food with the local community and contribute to the local Johnson County Food Shed,” Scholz said.

Rainbow Roots Farm places special emphasis on teaching the community about the value of organic produce, sustainable farming practices and nutrient rich foods. Scholz said Rainbow Roots farming practices also reduce erosion, improve air quality and benefit community health.

“We practice sustainability by caring for the soil, and feeding the soil puts a lot of good nutrients into the vegetables,” said Scholz. “We see our farm as a means of [implementing] preventive medecine. I know it’s just a drop in the bucket, but all we can get is good.

Rainbow Roots Farm isn’t the only supplier that cares about the health of the Iowa City community; in fact, most farmer’s market stalls advertise organic or sustainably produced products.

With autumn fast approaching, there are only a few Saturdays left for customers to visit the market before it closes at the end of October. For those who want the freshest fruits and vegetables Iowa City has to offer, or simply want to reduce their carbon footprint, there’s no better place.

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