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 (WBFM) opened in 2011 as a project of the West Broadway Coalition (WBC) with the purpose of increasing healthy food access, stimulating economic development within the local food movement, and creating a positive and informative community gathering space that facilitates social capital creation.
The West Broadway Farmers Market is truly a product of the Northside community as community involvement has led this project from the beginning. The idea was first formalized in a 2008 local small area plan which included an extensive community outreach process. From there, the West Broadway Coalition began informal outreach throughout the summer of 2010 to gauge community support. Positive feedback led the Coalition to hire a research assistant from the University of Minnesota to lead a community outreach planning process throughout the 2010-2011 academic year. Community feedback from this process has been implemented at every step of market creation by the market manager. Moving forward, the community, represented by local businesses and residents in the form of a WBC committee, will continue to be the guiding voice as the market grows.
2011 Season Summary and Report
The West Broadway Farmers Market far succeeded the goals set forth in the first season. The market increased food access by its strategically chosen location, offering EBT and participating in the Market Bucks program, and hosting between four and twelve vendors at each market with always at least one produce and one prepared food vendor.
The market boosted economic development in the community by providing a low-cost (free) and therefore low-risk selling space for new entrepreneurs and businesses. Start-up Northside businesses at the market this season included two food trucks, several artists who were part of the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority’s Artists and Crafters ‘n Action group, and our coffee/chai/granola/candy vendor Black Onyx Creations who used the Northside resource Kindred Kitchen. Economic development was not limited to adult businesses at the West Broadway Farmers Market. Youth entrepreneurs that used the market to distribute their produce included Project Sweetie Pie, Youth Farm, and We Win Institute.
The market created a positive and vibrant community gathering space in a much needed area as the tornado destroyed many of the surrounding structures temporarily closing several businesses. End of year surveys indicated that the market vendors and staff created a very welcoming atmosphere. Additionally, the market held a great deal of programming with 107 programs in total and ranging from two to seven programs per market day with an average of 3.3 programs per market day. Of those programs, 18 were run solely by market staff and the remaining programs were held through collaboration with over 40 community partners.