Euclid United Methodist Church (UMC) will host a farmers market on Saturday, March 19 from 9 a.m. till 1 p.m. at which shoppers can purchase anything from organic raspberry-strawberry preserves from Tomato Mountain Farm to chocolate croissants baked by Fraternite Notre Dame nuns to hand dyed yarns from My Small Wonders.

All of the vendors at the market will come from within 250 miles of Oak Park and are farmers raising their own products or non-farm vendors who make their products using local ingredients. 

That’s part of the vision and mission of the Chicago-based nonprofit called Faith in Place, which is sponsoring the event at Euclid UMC. “Faith in Place,” according to its website, “inspires religious people of diverse faiths to care for the Earth through education, connection, and advocacy. [We] sponsor indoor winter farmers markets throughout Chicagoland. Our markets are itinerant, meaning we are constantly moving to different houses of worship, and are open to the public. They provide small, local farm producers, who use sustainable practices, additional venues to extend their income beyond the growing season.”

Dr. Martha Vetter, the member of Euclid UMC’s Green Action Team coordinating the market, is a physician specializing in environmental medicine and physical medicine and rehabilitation and has a Ph.D. in immunology/microbiology.

She said her congregation has hosted a winter farmers market each year since the program began five years ago. 

Sustainability is one of the core values of the congregation, Vetter said. “By shopping at a winter farmers market, people can keep their money in the place it matters most — in our local communities. According to the Farmers Market Coalition, locally owned retailers, such as farmers market vendors, return more than three times as much of their sales to the local economy than chain competitors.”

Vetter said the farmers themselves benefit from these winter markets as well as their customers. 

“These markets provide an additional source of income for local farmers and vendors during the slower winter season,” she explained. “By supporting local farmers and vendors during the ‘off-season,’ shoppers are allowing farmers who use sustainable growing methods to be financially able to continue their work into the next growing season.” 

Theologically, Euclid UMC and Faith in Place are on the same page. 

“We see our participation in the winter farmers market program as one way of answering the call to be faithful stewards of the earth,” said Vetter. “Nutritious food should be available to everyone. Promoting sustainable systems for food and other natural products, both in terms of the methods of production (organic, biodiverse, soil-conservation, etc.) and the distance products travel (which affects carbon emissions that contribute to climate change) is part of our responsible stewardship of the earth. This in turn contributes to our mission, which is to ‘love God, live green, and liberate all.'”

Faith in Place sponsored 16 markets on various Saturdays and Sundays from November through March. Link cards/SNAP benefits are accepted at all markets. Euclid UMC is located at 405 S. Euclid Ave. in Oak Park. Admission to the market is free. Complimentary fair trade coffee and tea will be served.

The twelve vendors at the market are:

Dennanne Farms, Elgin – Honey, candles

Vesna Djurdjevic, Palatine – Serbian baked goods

Herbally Yours, Willow Springs – Herb-infused vinegar

My Small Wonders, Lake Zurich – Hand-dyed wool yarn

Simple Life Simple Health, Burlington, Wis. – Natural beauty products

St. Roger Abbey Patisseries, Chicago – French bakery and pastries

The Aspiring Kitchen, Algonquin – Cheese, Lake Michigan fish

The Eating Well, Hillside – Veggie burgers, soups

The Urban Canopy, Chicago – Seasonal produce

Tomato Mountain Farm, Brooklyn, Wis. – Salsas, spinach, carrots

Whimsical Acres, Salem, Wis. – Goats milk lotions, soaps

Yoberri Gourmet, Chicago – Ice cream, frozen yogurt

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Tom Holmes

Tom's been writing about religion – broadly defined – for years in the Journal. Tom's experience as a retired minister and his curiosity about matters of faith will make for an always insightful exploration...