West Broad (copy) AHA

The garden shed at the West Broad Farmers Market on June 18, 2016. The market is moving to the Athens Housing Authority parking lot because of the renovation of the West Broad Street School. (Photo/Landon Trust)

The West Broad Farmers Market will open to the public a little differently next month because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Instead of the typical Saturday morning shopping and festivities, customers can pick up items through a Saturday drive-thru after preordering them online starting May 9, according to an Athens Land Trust news release.

“It’s not quite the opening we had imagined, but our staff and vendors have been amazing and responded to this crisis in creative and flexible ways,” said Heather Benham, executive director of the Athens Land Trust, in a press release.

The market will open for orders on Sunday, May 3 and the first pick-up date will be that Saturday, May 9.

Customers can order items online from 5 p.m. on Sunday until 1 p.m. on Thursday. They can pay and pick up their items in a drive-thru format between 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. on Saturday in the Athens Housing Authority parking lot on South Rocksprings Street.

“We will miss seeing our friends and neighbors, hearing the musical talent, watching the kids ride horses and doing yoga in the garden, but it will all be back when it’s safe,” Benham said in the release.

Along with this new format, the West Broad Farmers Market has moved to the Athens Housing Authority parking lot because of the renovation of the West Broad Street School, where it was previously located.

Clarke County School District is redeveloping the previous site of the market into an early learning center in a $10 million project. The project may also include other student services and a community meeting room, though the renovations did not leave space for the market and garden to continue.

The Athens Land Trust has now partnered with the Athens Housing Authority to use its parking lot for the market and a 1-acre plot nearby for the garden, according to the release. The new location is half a mile away from the West Broad Street school.

The new location allows the garden, which started as a small volunteer opportunity for students in 2012 and grew into the community staple it is today, a new home so the tradition can continue.

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