West Broadway Farmers Market set to nourish North Minneapolis for a third year


On Friday, June 21st the West Broadway Farmers Market returns for its third season, featuring more produce and specialty goods vendors than ever.

Left: The aggregation table at the 2012 Market (Photo by Shaina Brassard)

Every Friday through October, from 3:00 to 7:00pm, in the Hawthorn Crossings parking lot at West Broadway and Emerson Ave N, all are invited to do their weekly shopping at the market, enjoy programming and connect with neighbors. The market will host ten returning vendors and six new vendors, including the highly anticipated Pride of Louisiana, a shrimp and fish vendor. In addition to locally grown fruits and vegetables, marketgoers will find culinary mushrooms, sweet breads, cookies, pies, flowers and gifts, canned goods, art and non-local produce like tropical fruit.

Market Manager Alicia Uzarek is especially proud of the strong presence of North Minneapolis-based vendors, who make up over 70 percent of market vendors. “It’s really amazing to see so many Northside food businesses grow. There’s a lot of excitement around the market and the healthy food and community found there.”

Much of the excitement Uzarek speaks of is due to the tireless organizing that occurs during the offseason. The West Broadway Farmers Market is a program of the West Broadway Coalition (WBC). Thanks to a project led by Appetite for Change and funded by Blue Cross Blue Shield, the WBC was able to hire staff person Matthew McGlory to run an aggregation table at the market. The aggregation table is a resource within the West Broadway Farmers Market where North Minneapolis growers can have the opportunity to sell their goods and receive technical assistance at no cost to them. The aggregation table also serves as a licensed reseller of non-local fruits and vegetables, so visitors can always buy foods like bananas, avocados and pineapples along with their Minnesota-grown tomatoes, apples and cucumbers.

The aggregation table fits perfectly within the West Broadway Farmers Market’s mission to expand access and build a local healthy, sustainable food system in North Minneapolis while supporting economic development of Northside growers. McGlory is very enthusiastic about his new role at the market: “I’m looking forward to building on the success of last year’s aggregation table. I’m excited to get to know the growers and customers over the course of the season and to be a part of the market community.”

Kelsey Durken and Jon Barrick of Native Roots farm are proof of the aggregation table model’s success. Full vendors for the 2013 season, these Northsiders got their start selling at the aggregation table in 2012. At the Native Roots farm, Durken and Barrick grow an array of vegetables, specializing in heirloom varieties of what are known as the Three Sisters- various types of squash, corn and beans traditionally grown in many North American Native American communities. “We’re really happy to be back at the market this year as full vendors,” said Durken.

Right: Jon Barrick at Native Roots farm (Photo by Kelsey Durken)

Beyond hosting wonderful products for purchase, the West Broadway Farmers Market is a positive and vibrant community gathering space. Special events and programs occur each market day, including art activities, exercise, live music, a bike walk raffle and cooking demonstrations.

Opening day highlights include Story Time with Sumner Library and community tables by the Animal Humane Society, Wirth Coop and Broadway Family Medicine (also a market sponsor). The Hawthorne Hula Hoopers will be on site to lead marketgoers in some easygoing, fun exercise.

Visitors can pay with cash, and the West Broadway Farmers Market gladly accepts EBT and will double EBT card holders’ first $5 spent each market day (funding is provided through the Market Buck Initiative of Blue Cross® and Blue Shield® of Minnesota).

The market has a beautiful new website with any information on sponsorship, visiting and being involved; visit westbroadwaymarket.org today.

The West Broadway Farmers Market increases healthy food access, promotes economic development among Northsiders, and cultivates a dynamic gathering space for community members, visitors, and businesses. The West Broadway Farmers Market is a project of the West Broadway Coalition.