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By Sarah Mauet

FoodInRoot, a local startup founded by two McGuire Entrepreneurship Program graduates, is launching two new farmers’ markets in November to continue its aim to offer convenient access to local foods to all populations.

FoodInRoot-logo-mob-retina-w321h130With the addition of these two new markets, FootInRoot now runs five farmers’ markets in Tucson, all of which emphasize locally grown food and food products that are made or processed in local facilities by local businesses.

The startup, founded by 2011 McGuire alumni Clayton Kammerer and Jon Hall, is dedicated to promoting local food by providing opportunities for small growers and craft food producers to connect with customers. It is also combining modern technology with marketing, management and entrepreneurship skills to better manage and leverage the growth of farmers’ markets, provide business consulting to local farmers and market coordinators and eventually to create an online resource for all things concerning local food.

“We want to help people at the source of the food get it into the hands of the people who will eat it,” said Kammerer.

The duo is passionate about the local food movement. Both have worked at farm-to-table restaurants and Hall, a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Scottsdale, was a chef at a restaurant that only sourced local foods. As a result, they have high standards for their farmers’ markets. Almost all of the food is grown at local farms within 150 miles or, in the case of coffee, tea bread, jam, etc., made by local businesses, and the people staffing the booths are usually the people who grow or produce the food.

“We want you to be able to shake the hand of the person who grows your food,” Kammerer said.

FoodInRoot picks the locations of its markets carefully. Both of the new markets are located in areas that are not currently served by a close farmers market and allow farmers to reach new customers, Kammerer said.

“People want to shop close to home,” he said. “If you live 30 minutes from the closest farmers’ market, you’re probably not going to go. Our farmers’ markets are in areas that aren’t served by other farmers’ markets.”

The Santa Fe Square Market, adjacent to Udall Park, opens Nov. 3, 2013, and will run every Sunday, from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. On the Second Sunday of every month from November through April, a fine art festival will accompany the market. The El Con Center Market, at the mall, opens on Nov. 9, 2013, and runs every Saturday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

The grand opening of both new markets will feature the area’s best vendors and food producers, including the freshest local foods, produce, plants, jams, coffees and baked goods, as well as food trucks and live music.

  • Nov. 3 – Grand Opening of the Santa Fe Square Market, 7000 E. Tanque Verde Road. Sundays from 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
  • Nov. 9 – Grand Opening of the El Con Center Market, 3601 E. Broadway Blvd. Saturdays from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

The increasing demand for food transparency has had a huge impact on the growth of farmers’ markets, and FoodInRoot aims to utilize technology and business insight to create superior markets that better serve farmers and customers. The startup is working to create a blueprint for well-managed farmers’ markets that can be applied to other locations.

“We’re more of a two-season climate, but we’re a year-round climate for growing and we do have the opportunity here to run farmers’ markets year-round,” Kammerer said. “The climate here is tough but if we can do it here, then no doubt we could apply it to other locations that have a better framework in place.”

Vegetables photo courtesy Shutterstock.