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Fair Trade Winter Farmer’s Market Comes to St. Casimir

by Jackie Reid Dettloff

The Sunday Gardeners Market at the corner of Bremen and Locust has become a fixture of the summertime landscape in our neighborhood. But now that it’s winter, with the growing season over, there is a different kind of farmers’ market coming to Riverwest. On the afternoon of Saturday, March 6, St. Casimir’s Hall at 924 E. Clarke St. will be the site of the Fair Trade Winter Farmers’ Market. Shoppers can find hand-made woolen goods, handcrafted soaps, honey, and a variety of cheeses, meats and organic flours. Vendors will come from farms across Wisconsin to sell their goods in our neighborhood. This event is a project of the Churches’ Center for Land and People (CCLP) in Sinsinawa, WI. CCLP is a network concerned with saving family farms in our state. In these days of factory farms and supermarket chains, the Center works for the betterment of rural families and communities. It helps farmers find urban markets for their products. The farmers aim to sell directly to city dwellers and build links between rural communities and urban centers. In December, CCLP organized a hugely successful Winter Farmers’ Market in Madison. Vendors sold products that were home-made or home-grown in accord with sustainable, fair trade practice. They set aside 10% of their profits for the Harvest of Hope Fund to help Wisconsin farmers in financial crisis. Participating farmers sold out all their merchandise and look to repeat their success in Milwaukee. According to Ryan O’Rourke, coordinator of the event on March 6, if the sale at St. Casimir’s goes well, the farmers are likely to return for future indoor winter markets in Riverwest. The vendors will be selling between 1 and 7 p.m. For those who want to learn more about sustainable agriculture there will be a talk at noon by Tony Ends of the CCLP on the topic “Eating as a Matter of Faith.” O’Rourke urges Riverwesters to come check out the merchandise, chat with the farmers and support family farming “by voting with your pocketbook.”
by Jackie Reid Dettloff