It’s National Farmers Market Week! Every August around the country we celebrate Farmers Market Week, and this year’s theme is farmers markets don’t just happen.
Farmers markets are abundant sources of food, connection and resilience in our communities, but they don’t just happen on their own. Behind the scenes of every successful farmers market is a dedicated person or team working to make the market thrive. These farmers market operators are experts who need community and financial support to run their markets and resources specifically designed for their needs.
At Mill City this includes our yellow-vested staff (who are at the market every Saturday before 6am!), Zero Waste volunteers, board members, donors and other partners who make our market and non-profit Charitable Fund thrive. It also includes our loyal grocery shoppers and vendors–some who have been with us since the beginning in 2006 and many who are just launching their businesses.
Farmers markets are more than our individual supporters, we serve as community hubs. Farmers markets foster direct relationships between community members and farmers which can work to create a more fair and sustainable food system. Farmers markets are also a hub for connection and collective action around shared values. At Mill City we’re working to support a healthier community through partnerships like our Greens for Good food donation program, educational programming like our chef-led cooking demos and nutrition internship, and support for organic farmers and local food producers with our Next Stage Grant program.
In 2022, we awarded 10 grants totaling $63,626 to small farmers and makers. Read more about their projects here!
The culture of farmers markets is changing. The demographic of farmers markets has not always reflected their local communities and some markets have not always created a space where everyone can feel welcome. Together, there are farmers market operators and community organizers paving the way to improve equity in the farmers market space. We fundamentally believe that farmers markets are for everyone and seek to support efforts to make farmers markets safe, inviting and accessible for all.
This week, as we celebrate the people and programs that make Mill City Farmers Market so special, we encourage you to thank a staff member, say hi to a neighbor doing their shopping, ask a farmer for a recipe, or high five a vendor! We’ll be hosting Farmers Market Bingo (available at the Info Booth) for inspiration more ways like these to engage at the market.
We hope our market continues to be Minneapolis’ trusted source for healthy, local and sustainable groceries and community connection. Thank you for your support, and see you Satuday!
Mill City Farmers Market staffer and board member Stayci with market founder Brenda. Meet our team here!