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Oxford City Market receives $14K

Thanks to the Oxford Board of Aldermen, the Oxford City Market will be able to continue to provide fresh produce to lower-income families after it morphs into the Oxford Community Market next month.

In 2013, the aldermen started the Oxford City Market to promote local farmers, encourage sustainable living and bring produce to more of its residents.

The aldermen spent about $30,000 to start the market, which was open on Tuesdays from 3 to 6:30 p.m.

However, the goal was for the market to eventually become self-sufficient, and leave out from under the umbrella of the city government.

Three years later, the Oxford City Market has done just that and on Oct. 1, the market will merge with the Oxford Community Market, a nonprofit organization with a volunteer board of directors.

The city’s fiscal year runs from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30, which is when the funding for the market will end.

John Winkle, chairman of the Oxford Community Market board, asked the aldermen Tuesday for a $14,000 donation to allow the market to continue being able to participate in its outreach programs during the transition period.

“I am here asking for the one-time donation to continue and expand, without interruption, the outreach work started four years ago,” Winkle said.

The market now accepts SNAP benefits — formerly known as food stamps and offers a dollar for dollar match program, sponsored by AARP, up to $10. Earlier this year, the started a mobile market program where a mini-market was held at C.B. Webb apartments once a week for a month.

“Many in our community still need better access to fresh produce,” Winkle said. “The market doesn’t have the resources right now to cover the expenses associated with these outreach programs.”

Winkle said the market will apply for grants to run the market but those can take several months to receive.

Alderman Janice Antonow made the motion to approve the one-time donation of $14,000, which was approved unanimously.

“What you’re doing is amazing,” she told Winkle. “These are the types of programs we had in mind when we started the market and now they’re falling into place, and it’s wonderful.”

While the Community Market won’t take over the City Market until October, the Community Market started a new farmers’ market in June on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the community pavilion, located where the former National Guard armory was located on Bramlett Boulevard.

The Tuesday market will continue once it’s under Community Market management, giving farmers two days a week to sell their produce and homemade products.

The Community Market will assume the acronym OXCM, which is currently used by the Oxford City Market, to help make a smooth transition for the community.