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RE: FRom community garden to farmers market?

  • Subject: RE: [cg] FRom community garden to farmers market?
  • From: "Christine Kirby" ckirby@regionalfoodbank.org
  • Date: Sun, 13 Mar 2005 07:54:13 -0600
  • Thread-index: AcUny+WUruHzQoYBQhy2ibXKQi+4gAAAJ9XA


I have often thought that there would be some way for a community garden to
sell in a farmers market or begin their own small community farmers market.
With anything, it would take a few people to partner and provide leadership
to organize the way the market would work.  Depending on the set up of the
community garden, would help determine how the market would work.  In
Oklahoma, some community gardens are setup as individual plots and some are
setup up as one big area of production of fresh fruits and vegetables that
provides food for a shelter, church or a community.

We are looking at setting up some local community markets to serve the areas
that the community gardens are in.  There are many people that don't know
how to grow, don't have time to grow or physically can't grow that still
love fresh fruits and vegetables.  Most of our gardens are in lower income
areas, so Urban Harvest is wanting to help coordinate small markets that
enable the community garden to sell and make some income either as an
individual person or as a community garden selling to help sustain the
garden.  This also makes fresh fruits and vegetables available at reasonable
prices to the community.  Many people in these neighborhoods don't have
grocery stores that carry fresh produce and they are very limited through
the transportation system and cost of the produce once they do get to a
grocery store.  The make up of the garden and the people would determine the
best way the market would work.  It would be good to visit other farmers
markets and see how they are run, how close they are to your area, what is
sold in the market and how they display it. Talk to the manager and get a
copy of their application and guidelines.  The guidelines would be helpful
in setting up the guidelines for your market.  You would need set days and
times(might try an evening weekday market or Sat or both) and could make
flyers and pass them out in your neighborhood and surrounding neighborhoods
depending on how much produce that you have.  If you have quite a few
gardeners participating, you might want to get hold of the local food editor
or garden editor of your newspaper through a press release and phone call or
email and let them know the 5 W's -  Who you are(market name, What you are
doing, When you are doing it, Where you are doing it and Why you are doing
it.  Also be sure to put a contact name and number on it in case they need
to ask questions or want to send a photographer.   The whole concept could
make for a really neat story.    

If community gardeners want to sell at an existing farmers market, it would
help to visit the markets you are interested in and talk to the market
manager.  See what their application process is and fees are and get a copy
of their guidelines for the market.    Is it a locally grown only market or
peddlers market?   Look and see what the other growers are selling and how
they display it.  Look at the ethnicity of the people that shop there.  If
it looks like a market that you could compete in, then sign up.  You really
need to market yourself and what makes you different than the other vendors.
I would promote the fact that you are a community gardener...I would invite
people to visit the garden, I would promote truly fresh locally grown

I started a farmers market 9 years ago and it grew to be the largest farmers
market in the state.  I would have loved to have had a community garden
group selling at the market!  You would have to operate as business with
good quality produce and selection to compete but it is very possible.  The
market I coordinated for 7 years served a very middle to upper class group
of people so now I am able to use the experience of the market and links
with growers to help communities and people that don't have access or afford
fresh fruits and vegetables through the Urban Harvest program that does
production, provides education and partnership building to community gardens
and people that are risk of going hungry.    

There is certainly a lot to think about and planning but it does have a lot
of potential.  Good Luck with your endeavors!

Chris Kirby
Urban Harvest Director
Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma
P.O. Box 270968
Oklahoma City, OK 73137-0968
405-972-1111 ext 108
405-688-6447 - fax
25 Years of Fighting Hunger and Feeding Hope 

-----Original Message-----
From: cordalie benoit [mailto:cordalie_benoit@snet.net] 
Sent: Tuesday, March 08, 2005 2:56 PM
To: community_garden@mallorn.com
Subject: [cg] FRom community garden to farmers market?

We in New Haven, CT are lucky enough to almost 50 community  gardens.  
We are hoping to bring some of our production to local famers' markets.  
Has anyone out there done this?   We were thinking of a combination of 
profit return to the parent organization for a try at sustainability and 
maybe some return to our gardeners for there own efforts.  What rules 
might you have?  And so on?  Thank you, Cordalie

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