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2011 in Review: Church in Aurora, KSU student start market


January 11, 2012


Aurora -- Members of the Church in Aurora worked with a Kent State University student to bring a health-conscious and successful farmers market to the church's lawn in late summer 2011. And it has been determined that the venture will operate again this year probably at the same location.


Aurora entrepreneur-in-residence Jack Burge, who also is a KSU professor and member of the church, said he had been working to start a farmers market in Aurora since early 2011, but faced issues with securing a venue.


Ken and Mary Ellen Liang brought their idea for a health-food-conscious farmers market to the community outreach committee at the church and contacted Burge.


The event took place for seven Wednesdays in the church's backyard. After the market sessions ended, leaders at the Church in Aurora decided that it will return this summer with different dates.

 

"We want to open it July 11 and end the third week in September, said Kent State University student Matt Johnson, who was charge of running the market.

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Farmers market successful, will return


October 19, 2011


by DWAYNE YATES | REPORTER


Aurora -- Members of the Church in Aurora worked with a Kent State University student to bring a health-conscious and successful farmers market to the church's lawn late this summer. And it has been determined that the venture will operate again next year probably at the same location.


Aurora entrepreneur-in-residence Jack Burge, who also is a KSU professor and member of the church, said he had been working to start a farmers market in Aurora since early 2011, but faced issues with securing a venue.


Ken and Mary Ellen Liang brought their idea for a health-food-conscious farmers market to the community outreach committee at the church and contacted Burge, who originally took his idea to the city's parks and recreation department.

But some city officials were not receptive to allowing the event to be on city-owned property.The event took place for seven Wednesdays in the church's backyard.


During a recent meeting, leaders at the Church in Aurora decided that the market will return next summer with different dates. "We want to open it July 11 and end the third week in September, said Kent State University student Matt Johnson, who was charge of running the market. "We found that if we would've been open earlier, vendors would've made more money because that's when parents aren't involved with school. When school starts, attendance drops 60 percent."


THE LIANGS, who are working with the church to start a wellness program, wanted to have a farmers market focusing on healthy foods and locally grown produce. "[My wife and I] are very interested in taking care of ourselves both physically and mentally," Ken Liang said. "Farmers markets provide local fresh food, so that fit into what we've been doing ourselves, and we wanted to share that with the rest of the community."


Burge liked the idea and joined the initiative using his job as entrepreneur-in-residence to bring Johnson, a student in an Entrepreneurship 1 class, to Aurora to run the market.


Although Johnson was busy with two trips to Europe early in the summer, he still was able to secure 16 vendors for this year's market. "I put together a very unique farmers market where I had two produce venders who sold everything from squash, peppers, onions, eggplant, pickles, chicken," Johnson said.


"I also had a local honey company, couple of bakers, a guy who specializes in organic lettuce, coffee vender and walnut lady. Oh, yeah and kettle corn. People loved that."


Johnson, a non-traditional third-year undergraduate, said he's been in the restaurant business for more than 20 years. He named the market Red Rock Farmers Market. It ran for three hours once a week between Aug. 17 and Sept. 28.


JOHNSON, Burge and the Liangs all consider the market a success.

"I was there every night for all three hours the market was open," Burge said. "I mainly talked with people, and I had really good feedback from the community saying, 'we really like this. We should have had it years ago.' It's a void in the community that we filled."


"I've heard from vendors and people who've attended that it was long overdue," Liang added. Burge said the event unified people in Aurora. "It gave the community a mini-event on Wednesday afternoons," Burge said. "I saw people I hadn't seen in Aurora in years. Other than selling some nice produce, I think we brought the community together in a good way."


Johnson's and Burge's meeting last week with church leaders touched on what went well with the market and what can be improved. "The church was very happy with the results," said Johnson. "I will be in charge again next year," and he hopes the market's popularity will grow. Johnson said after first-year expenses, he made $1,200 from the market, and his vendors were happy. Burge said one vendor was so happy with how he fared that he's looking for retail space in Aurora.

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In The Community


August 10, 2011


Farmers markets set for Wednesdays at church


The Church in Aurora, in conjunction with Red Rock Farmers Market, are sponsoring a farmers market each Wednesday featuring locally grown, organic produce and products that promote health and wholeness.

The first session is today (Aug. 10). The session will run through Sept. 28 from 4 to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays. Entertainment will be by the Aurora School of Music.

Participating vendors are Sunrise Farm, Nicole Shimandle's Aurora Springs Honey, Jon's Organic Farm and Produce, LoLo's Food Co., Windswept in Time Orchids. Boko Botanicals, Storehouse Tea Co. Goodell Family Farm, Sirna's Farm, Stahl's Bakery, Shari's Berries and Garden.



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Faith & Religion


August 3, 2011


Farmers market coming


A farmers market sponsored by the Church in Aurora will begin Aug. 10 and run for eight weeks on Wednesdays from 4 to 7 p.m. on the lawn next to the Escape. Ten to 15 vendors will offer healthy fruits, vegetables and related items to residents.