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US (PA): Eerie's new Westside Market now has vertical towers and soilles planters

Upon entering the newly established Westside Market on Powell, you are greeted with rows of soil-less planters and vertical grow towers that sprout vibrant lettuces and herbs, like walking into a greenhouse. This is a showcase of owner Amanda Hines' specialty: hydroponic produce.

Hines, a 2021 40 Under 40 honoree who also owns No Dirt Farms, a hydroponic farm in Fairview, explains that her customers were looking for a brick-and-mortar location to buy her produce, but no such thing existed. "It has always been like a dream of mine to open a market, not quite this large-scale, but to open a market and for people to see hydroponics," Hines says. Thus, Westside Market on Powell was born. According to the company website, the goal of the market is "to support local communities, promote environmental stewardship, and provide access to high-quality, nutritious food."

Along with her own hydroponics, Hines has partnered with over 50 local farmers, vendors, and artisans from across the tri-state area to make the market a convenient location to get a wide range of local goods. "It's very difficult for people to go to each farm and support their local farmers," Hines explains. "So, coming here, this is a one-stop shop."

In a study titled Where Do "Localphiles" Shop?: A Mixed-Methods Case Study of Food-buying Habits, Emily McKee states that interviewees identified inconvenience, particularly having to visit multiple places, as one of the barriers to purchasing locally-grown food. "A lady just said at the cash register, 'You have all of my favorite things that I love to go and get, and I just don't have all the time to get to all of those places,'" Hines says, recalling an interaction with a customer. "And I'm like, that's exactly what we're doing!"


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