City farmers market offers healthy alternative to students

Jena Dean

The Downtown Topeka Farmers Market offers Washburn students the opportunity to purchase fresh fruits, vegetables and other items at a college-range price.

The farmers market takes places each Saturday starting in April and continuing until November. The market has more than 60 booths that each specialize in different items, such as produce, wood crafts and jewelry.

“There’s so many food options and craft booths for Washburn students to pick from,” said Betty Lane, market manager. Lane has worked at the Downtown Topeka Farmer’s Market for 12 years. 

In the 1930s, the market opened as a way for local farmers and artists to sell their products and interact with those in the community. Since then, the Topeka farmers market has grown significantly, adding new booths every season.

“I hope more Washburn students begin attending the farmers market,” said Lane. “There are a lot of benefits to having such a big farmers market right down the street from the campus.”

The farmers market’s proximity to campus makes finding fresh produce in Topeka easy for students and serves as a healthy alternative to the usual meals found on college campuses or eating out. 

“There’s an abundance of healthy food just waiting for college kids,” said Lane. “It’s definitely an affordable option. It’s cheaper to buy fresh food from the market than go out to eat all the time.”

Vendors at the Downtown Topeka Farmers Market have noticed the increase of Washburn students in the last few years. Marie Owings has hosted a booth at the farmers market for more than six years, growing all of her produce in her own personal garden.

“We plant 115 tomato plants in our garden along with a number of other vegetables,” said Owings. “This is a way to bring freshness to Topeka and to the community. It’s really a place for everyone to enjoy.”

Although the market draws in hundreds of Topeka residents, Owings hopes that more students will see the benefits from shopping local and eating healthy.

“We have a wide variety of vendors. If students want real food without GMOs, then come here,” said Owings.

The Downtown Topeka Farmers Market, located at 12th and Harrison St., south of the Federal Judicial Center, and is open from 7:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. every Saturday through November .