The Oxford Community Market earned second place in the American Farmland Trust Grant competition on Sunday Sept. 19.
In July, Oxford Community Market entered in the American Farmland Trust 13th Annual American Farmland Celebration contest. The contest ran from June 21 to Sept. 19, and shoppers and supporters from all around the nation voted on their favorite market.
The top three “People’s Choice” in the nation received $2,500 for first, $1,500 for second and $1,000 for third.
Results were announced on Sunday, Sept. 19. Columbia Farmers Market, in Columbia, MO, won with 10, 506 votes, Oxford Farmers Market won second, with 9,800 votes and Monroe Farmers Market, in Monroe, CT, won third with 4,401.
The Oxford Community Market mission addresses food insecurity in Oxford, increases access to fresh food and connects growers and producers with customers.
“Here at the market,” Les Driggers, Oxford Community Market vendor and owner of 7D farm, said, “we get everybody, different cultures, races, socioeconomic standings, genders, political views. We all come together and interact civilly and get along, and we form friendships.”
The Market hosts many diverse vendors, including Oxsicles, Cypress Bakery Co, Poultry in Motion Farms and 7D farm, to name a few.
The community market, located at the Old Armory Pavillion, hosts a weekly, year round farmers market on Tuesdays from 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. The market consists of fresh produce, baked goods and community food and craft vendors.
Betsy Chapman, the Oxford Community Market director, said she signed the market up for the competition to spread awareness about the market and create a greater sense of community in Oxford.
“From the second we entered the contest we started promoting it,” Chapman said, “encouraging our supporters, their friends, our customers, volunteers and vendors to all get on board and help us spread the word about the opportunity to vote for us for America’s favorite farmers market.”
Poultry in Motion Farms vendor, Kevin Guyer, of Water Valley, said that it was impressive to see a town the size of Oxford rally enough people to receive that many votes.
“Columbia, Missouri is a bigger town. I think it’s just impressive that we managed to score so high,” Guyer said.
Chapman said the prize money will go towards promoting local venders and the community as a whole.
Jayden Pounds, the Oxford Community Market Americorps Vista, said there are so many avenues the prize money can go to including fresh produce drives.
Pounds said the market itself creates a sense of comradery and “solace” within the Oxford Community.
“It’s just a place that people call home,” Pounds said. “We get to have social and personal interactions on a weekly basis with people that we build connections with.”
Olivia Reeves, a sophomore integrated marketing communications major, said she grew up going to farmers markets with her mom.
“I’ve always just loved that they kind of bring together a community, simply through just selling like products,” Reeves said. “You get to meet a lot of different people as well, while also purchasing local goods and just kind of helping the local economy.”