By Ankur Dholakia and Ruchi Shah, Woodlawn Neighborhood
A nice stroll on a Saturday morning at the Woodlawn’s Farmers Market is more than just fresh produce from local farmers. Neighborhood residents and visitors enjoy live music, a baked goods stand, coffee and other local flavors. It might be just a stroll through a neighborhood event for some, but the founders built this to create a sustainable food culture.
“When choosing vendors, we give preference to vendors who live in the neighborhood and minority-owned small business to respect the long-time residents of Woodlawn and reflect the diversity of our neighborhood”, explains Martin Vanepas, one of the founders of the market.
Now run by a market manager and dozens of volunteers, the market not only supports local farmers in northeast Portland, it also motivates the growing farm-to-table, hyper-local movement and provides a community gathering experience for everyone.
The WFM received a Grant in 2016 to launch the Introducing Farmers Program in partnership with Headwaters Farm Incubator, lowering barriers for new farmers who want to learn to sell at a farmers market by providing a tent, tables, scale and training. In the same year, as an extension to locally sourced food, saving on transportation, healthy eating choices, the WFM started workshops on sustainable agriculture and soil and water conservation.
We are lucky enough to be surrounded by lots of small farms in Northeast Portland.
There is involvement for children too. Starting this July, the Power of Produce (POP) program aims to educate kids in the community about growing vegetables and where food comes from and building those relationships with the local farmers.
In its fifth year now, the market has seen a steady growth with about 15 vendors and around 500 customers per market day. One of those vendors, ZK Flowers, has been with the market since the beginning and has seen their flower company get wedding orders through this market. They are grateful for the loyalty and trust they have received from the customers.
A community booth welcomes neighborhood residents to sell anything they grew or made without a vendor fee and the market accepts SNAP food stamp benefits and provides up to $10 in matching tokens per market day.
Shannon FitzMaurice, one of the other founders, says, “The market was created to support the hard work of local farmers. We are lucky enough to be surrounded by lots of small farms in NE Portland. These farmers are doing a great service to their community by providing delicious and healthy produce.”
The market serves Woodlawn, Piedmont and Concordia neighborhoods and operates every Saturday 10am-2pm from June 6 – October 28 at the intersection of NE Dekum and Durham.
Find them online at www.woodlawnfarmersmarket.org/