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Clark Park Farmers Market brings produce and community to Tempe

ASU researchers and students get involved with a community garden that used to be a swimming pool

Mauricio Suchowlansky, postdoctoral fellow from ASU's Center for Political Thought & Leadership, poses for a photo on May 23, 2017 at Clark Park Farmers Market. 

Mauricio Suchowlansky, postdoctoral fellow from ASU's Center for Political Thought & Leadership, poses for a photo on May 23, 2017 at Clark Park Farmers Market. 

ASU students looking for some healthier options or fresh produce don't have to look far. There are multiple farmers markets and places to purchase local produce in Tempe, including the Tempe Farmers Market and the Escalante Community Garden

Several ASU students and researchers are involved with Clark Park Farmers Market, which grew out of an abandoned swimming pool and now offers fresh local produce to Tempe residents. 

Every Saturday when the market is in season, families and children gather around what was once a neighborhood pool surrounded by barbed wire in the center of Clark Park on Roosevelt and Broadway roads. The area now offers a vibrant array of vegetables and fruits in the renewed community garden. 

Lettuce, kale, radishes, beans, apricots, peaches, apples and tomatoes are some of the items for sale at the market. 

The community market also hosts yoga classes and sell handmade goods from artisans who lives minutes from the market.

The market's revenue goes to financing the garden and hosting workshops about gardening and cooking food. 

Clark Park Farmers market features members from the Tempe Community Action AgencyMaya's Farm and Abby Lee Farms. The market was also recently recognized for the Neighbor of the Year Award 2017 by Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell.

Fresh Escalante eggs and Clark Park produce! #eggs #farmersmarket #tempe

A post shared by Clark Park Farmers Market (@clarkparkfarmersmarket) on

Three researchers from ASU, as well as various students and interns, are also involved with the market. 

Mauricio Suchowlansky, a postdoctoral fellow at ASU's Center For Political Thought and Leadership, said he found this community garden directly coincides with his research on civic engagement.

"This is about public enterprise sustainability," Suchowlansky said. "This is more than just about being an active citizen who casts their ballot every two years. This is the spirit of entrepreneurship... we want to continue to do better."

Jorge Rojo, an international student from Mexico studying to earn his masters in social and cultural pedagogy, said that urban farming can be a form of resistance against capitalistic neoliberal policies in indigenous communities.

"Corn is a heritage and symbol of Mesoamerica, and it is fascinating how it cannot reproduce without the human being," Rojo said. 

Rojo said that his passion to invoke social change and experience working on food insecurity projects inspires him to cultivate his own community garden and medicinal herbs with his partner.

"We are talking about starting to produce some of the vegetables we consume, and hopefully at one point in our lives, we stop buying from shops," says Rojo.

Nicholas Smart, a fourth-year student in ASU's sustainable civil engineering program, said that the garden is able to provide the community groundwork for sustainability.

"The garden represents community-minded and open-minded people coming together for a greater cause," he said. 

Smart said that reasonable, competitive prices are a priority at Clark Park Farmers Market.

"We try to provide prices that are usually more affordable than most farmers markets in Tempe," he said. 

Smart said the Clark Parks Farmer's Market will begin planting watermelon by the end of Tempe's hot summer, resuming regular planting and operations in October.

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