Oneida Nation redesigns Farmers’ Market to ensure the community has fresh food

Local News

Oneida, Wis. (WFRV) Because of the coronavirus pandemic, communities all across Northeast Wisconsin have had to learn to adapt. And in Oneida, that means redesigning the Farmers’ Market – to ensure the community has fresh food.

In Oneida – it’s time for the Farmers’ Market, a place where the community can buy locally grown fresh raw foods.

“Produce, meats, fish, jelly, jams, maple syrup, things in that order,” said market organizer Bill Ver Voort.

But in the age of COVID-19 – the way these items are being distributed means customers never have to leave the comfort of their car.

“These guys worked really, really hard to organize a Farmers’ Market in some fashion – so this is what we came up with,” said Jen Falck, a tribal member who helped found the market in 2002.

“We went with the drive-up, because this way they can drive in, they don’t have to wear a mask, they don’t have to do questions, they can bring grandkids, dog, whatever they want, as long as they stay in their vehicle,” said Ver Voort.

This drive-through market is one of the first special events to open in Oneida during its Safer at Home order, allowed by tribal leaders so members have access to fresh food.

“Access to food is really important – but it has got to be a health and safety issue as well,” Falck said.

All staff and vendors that come on-site are quizzed about their health and then they have their temperature taken. If everything is fine all are allowed in. Staff helps guide drivers to vendors, like Mary Rentmeester whose set up along the curb.

“They drive up, they go I want that, that and that, and there you go and we’re keeping our distance,” Rentmeester said.

“We really enjoy coming out here because the people are all so very polite and it’s very convenient pulling up and they come to your car,” said one customer.

Ver Voort says it’s the only drive-through Farmers’ Market he knows of and so far it’s running smoothly.

“It just took some planning,” he said. A safer way to buy essential fresh foods – so important during this pandemic.

The Oneida Farmers’ Market first started in 2002.

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