After moving across the street to welcome 2018, the award-winning Orange Home Grown Farmers and Artisans Market has room to grow, and the partnership between Chapman University and Orange Home Grown is thriving.
Selected as Best Farmers Market by the Orange County Register’s Best of Orange County 2017 and honored with a Grassroots Initiative award by the California chapter of the American Planning Association, the market made the short move to 303 W. Palm Ave., the parking lot of Chapman’s Becket Building, on Jan. 6. The site of the market since its opening in 2011 had been the University’s Villa Park Orchards Packing House location, now closed for construction of new student housing.
“We’re just so proud to continue our partnership with the University,” said Megan Penn, cofounder and executive director of Orange Home Grown.
To accommodate the move, the Orange City Council voted to close the block of Palm Avenue between Lemon and Cypress streets for the weekly market from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays to welcome shoppers seeking locally grown fruits, vegetables and other foods and artisan products. Chapman offers parking in nearby university lots and provides portable restrooms, a cost Penn said would be prohibitive for her organization.
Efforts between the University and Orange Home Grown have expanded over the years to include projects such as the OHG Education Farm on an empty lot owned by the University at 356 N. Lemon St. Chapman classes sometimes visit the Education Farm, and students often volunteer there on Fridays, when the day’s harvest is sometimes sold to passersby.
One of Orange Home Grown’s newest ventures is its Youth Food Literacy program, which is leading 13 students from Orange High and El Modena High on a yearlong exploration of the value of food and its impacts on our environment and health. Those students meet with a Food Science professor from Chapman and have a session on catering with Sodexo, Chapman’s restaurant services provider.
Everything Chapman has done and continues to do, Penn said, helps Orange Home Grown continue to grow and reach more people.