HUNTSVILLE, Ala — Every Sunday, farmers and vendors head out to MidCity to sell fresh fruits, veggies and other locally-sourced products,
This month, WZDX is starting the conversation about food insecurity during the pandemic and exploring why it’s more important than ever to have access to fresh and affordable food.
Our Sydney Stallworth gives us an inside look at the Market at MidCity.
We met with Jesse Murphy, co-owner of DSR Farms. He tells us, “We produce pasture-raised, non-GMO meats. That means we raise our animals naturally, out in the open air.”
Jesse Murphy and his wife own DSR Farms, a regular vendor at the MidCity Farmers Market. He tells our reporter, “We feed certified non-GMO feed and we don’t use any medications or antibiotics or anything like that… We find that people want to come and purchase things from farmers markets like this so they can come and buy directly from the person producing the food.”
MidCity says a lot of their shoppers feel this way, especially during the pandemic. We talked to Lindsey Pattillo Keane with MidCity District. She tells our reporter, “There is nothing that is better for you than fresh food from a farmer that’s nearby… All of our farmers are within 100 miles of this location where we’re standing. So, supporting local while feeding your family healthy food is absolutely critical to the future. So, we’re thrilled to support that and we hope people keep coming every Sunday.”
One of those farms that's on the further end of that 100 mile radius is the Hilltop Lavender Farm from Mississippi, selling wellness products and even cooking oil.
These vendors say ‘fresh’ is the way to go.
Jesse Murphy says, “There’s a higher nutritional value in that food. That just means for every meal that you eat, you’re just getting more out of it. It’s healthier for you and can make you have a healthier immune system. With the year we’ve had, that’s something that’s on a lot of people’s minds-- eating clean and having a healthier immune system.
With that in mind, more people are starting backyard gardens during the pandemic. A research group called Packaged Facts, reports 26% of Americans in their survey said that they’re planting a food garden because of the pandemic.
People are even starting to raise chickens at home for fresh eggs. Jesse says, “It’s really good to have those fresh eggs everyday. Chickens are really good at pest control.”
We asked Jesse what people should know if they want to add a couple chickens to the family. He says, “I think one of the mistakes people make most often when they first start is getting too many. We made the same mistake when we first started. I didn’t realize that five chickens was probably too much for a family of five that wasn’t eating too many eggs… I started selling some at work and to friends and family and within five years that snowballed and now we have 1,500 laying hens. And it started with five."