Meet the market

Kingfield Farmers Market kicks off ninth season

What does it take to make a successful community farmers’ market? A group of Kingfield neighborhood folks has been laboring over this for a few years now. Drawn together by the allure of making a beloved neighborhood asset bigger, this group — with the help of the market’s founding organization, the Kingfield Neighborhood Association — re-established the Kingfield Farmers Market as an independent organization.

Heading into our ninth season, the new board of directors believes the possibilities are now endless: improved vendor selection, new music, fabulous events. A better world to live in, or at least Southwest’s corner of it!

As a member of this group, I can tell you that we’ve realized what we have taken on is tightly bound to the most basic community-building truth: Romantic ideals are only achieved through humdrum tedious work — and lots of it. Faced with the undertaking of nudging the market into its next growth spurt, our group of idealistic dreamer-types is up to its eyeballs in details. On weekends, at the end of long workdays, kid days, family days, we are in a daze and still needed by the market. Staying up into the wee hours has become routine, a measure required to pull together the paperwork, planning, and implementation needs of an infant like organization.

I’m proud to say that all the hours and effort appear to be paying off. We have the largest and best variety of vendors ever this season. Enough so that if you haven’t visited the market in a couple of years, you will find it transformed. There will be music every weekend and kids’ activities at least once a month.

You can check us out 8:30 a.m.–1 p.m. at 43rd & Nicollet, and every Sunday through October. On Opening Day — Sunday, May 31 — expect early season veggies, bedding plants and vegetable starts, locally produced meat, cheese, honey, baked goods, pickles, jams and more. Kids’ activity by Simply Jane Studio. Musician Kevin Thomas will also perform.

As important as what you will see on opening day, are the small transformations that accrue to a community from energy focused on a project like the Kingfield Farmers Market. We know we have fans all around Kingfield, and in neighborhoods such as East Harriet, Bryant, Field and Lynnhurst, to name a few. As we turn to reach outward to all the South and Southwest neighborhoods from our humble origins, our thinking has evolved toward questions like:

How can our market best serve our community?

What role can a neighborhood market play in supporting the economy — local and rural — in a time of recession?

How can we provide the best opportunities for human-scale producers to prosper?

What about the role for a community based farmers’ market in addressing food security and food justice concerns? Or sustainability issues?

Throughout the market season, as we continue to explore what it means to be a community market, we look forward to using this column as a place to share our reflections on these sorts of questions. We will also pass along some of the smaller musings the market inspires.

In the meanwhile, if you are looking for a real taste of what the market offers, or want a feel for what a weekly community event holds in-store, stop by.  

If a visit is not enough, we welcome volunteers.  Hope to see you soon!

The Kingfield Farmers Market is open from 8:30 a.m.–1 p.m. every Sunday through the end of October.  We are located at 43rd & Nicollet Ave. S.  For more information: [email protected] or 612-823-4550.