07 farmers marketThe time and place of the Murchison Road Community Farmer’s Market remain constant, but the market’s organizers aren’t letting it go stale.

MRCFM organizers are bringing more than just local produce as a resource to the Murchison Road community. They’re bringing a safe medication disposal bin and knowledgeable health service providers, too.

On Aug. 9, the Fayetteville Police Department is set to host Operation Medication Drop at the farmer’s market to collect any unused or outdated medications. “Medicine take-back programs are a good way to safely dispose of most types of unneeded medicines,” according the Food & Drug Administration.

“Medicines play an important role in treating many conditions and diseases and when they are no longer needed it is important to dispose of them properly to help reduce harm from accidental exposure or intentional misuse.”

Julius Cook, MRCFM manager, said for now Operation Medication Drop is a one-time event, but he hopes it will serve to spearhead a more frequent initiative. The market is also planning Healthy Wednesdays, a health-oriented market to be held on the second Wednesday of every month.

During Healthy Wednesdays, community members will be able to get free health screenings and healthcare information from community service providers, including representatives from Stedman-Wade Health Services, Cape Fear Valley Health System, the CARE Clinic, the Cumberland County Department of Social Services and more.

According to a Fayetteville State University press release, there will be many perks of attending Healthy Wednesdays. “Blood pressure, blood sugar and other simple, but important screenings are provided,” the press release said.

It went on to say that local chefs would also provide healthy cooking demonstrations with produce from the market.

As always, shoppers can purchase produce, chicken eggs, duck eggs, quail eggs, pastureraised processed chickens, baked goods, organic tea blends, boiled peanuts, fresh herbs, herbal salves and handmade soaps — all fresh and from local farms and vendors.

Cook has managed the MRCFM for three years while attending FSU for entrepreneurship and owning his own business, Bezzie’s Homestyle Foods, Inc. He said in his three years working with the market, he’s seen the market have a positive effect on the community.

“The community’s very satisfied with the market coming to them and not having to go to the market,” Cook said. “(Before) they had to wait on some form of transportation in order to go and even attempt to shop.” This is the MRCFM’s fourth season serving the community. The market was created after a few food markets closed and four business students at FSU recognized the need for fresh food that was accessible to their community.

“Food deserts are defined as parts of the country vapid of fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods, usually found in impoverished areas,” according to the American Nutrition Association. “This is largely due to a lack of grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and healthy  food providers.”

Don F. Bennett Jr., MRCFM operations and marketing manager, said, “We try to make it as convenient as possible for the families to come and shop without having to go too far out of their neighborhood.” It’s for convenience, too, that the farmer’s market accepts all major forms of payment, including EBT.

Even though the market is intended to keep Murchison Road community from becoming a food desert, Bennett said, it’s open to anyone in the city looking for good, fresh, local foods.

“It may be small, but it definitely packs a large experience and offers everything you need to supplement your weekly groceries with local items,” community member Anna-Caterina Fiore said in a Facebook review. “Almost all of my produce comes from local farmers markets in town, including the Murchison Road Community Farmers Market!”

In the future, Cook said he hopes to “grow the market to where we’ll be able to conduct the market more than one day per week.” For now, the Murchison Road Community Farmer’s Market is set to be open every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. until Oct. 18 in Bronco Square across from FSU.

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