Ypsilanti Rising: Jordan Garfinkle Finds Local Flavor at Farmers Market

UniverCities Connection intern Jordan Garfinkle believes that southeast Michigan’s communities have “enormous potential,” potential that we can fulfill by recognizing that “economic and environmental issues are often inextricable.” Studying at the UM School of Natural Resources & Environment, he didn’t find many chances to get away from campus. This summer, researching energy policy at the Ypsilanti office of the Michigan Suburbs Alliance, Jordan has found that interest in a green economy exists well beyond the books.

No "loafing" for this intern.

Last week, Jordan spotted the crate brought to work by Richard “Murph” Murphy, transportation programs director at the Suburbs Alliance, and realized there might be a farmers market in the vicinity. Murph confirmed that he had just picked up some produce from the Downtown Ypsilanti Farmers Market. Like any good student of sustainable food systems, Jordan decided to follow his example and walk over to Ferris Street.

The market operates 2-6 pm each Wednesday.

While not as large as its Ann Arbor counterpart, the Ypsilanti market excels in other ways. Garlic farmers Dick and Diana Dyer summed up the friendly, relaxed atmosphere, calling it “the most fun farmers market that we go to.” And who wouldn’t have fun presiding over 14 different varieties of garlic scapes?

Garlic scapes from Dyer Family Farms.

Jordan returned to the office with bread made from 100% Michigan ingredients and baked at the nearby Ypsilanti Food Co-op across the river. “Good things come in small packages,” he observed. Like Jordan, lots of Michigan’s young people are looking to live simply and sustainably, enriching their communities and their environment through what University of Michigan professor Thomas Princen calls the “logic of sufficiency.” UniverCities Connection is helping them find that older cities like Ypsilanti, once a hub for aircraft and auto manufacturing, offer a bountiful harvest of opportunities to redefine their American dreams.


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