Meet the market // Making the Kingfield and Fulton farmers markets even better

Born from community groups, Kingfield and Fulton farmers markets bring Southwest together with healthy local food. But each off-season, we ask ourselves: how can we improve? As we head toward the Fulton opener Saturday, May 19 and the Kingfield opener Sunday, May 20, the answers include more farmers, ATMs, composting and expanded food access.

At Fulton, Year One attendance matched numbers we didn’t see at Kingfield until Year 10. However, one message we received loud and clear: more farmers — specifically, more produce. When you come to the market this year, you’ll see much more space devoted to veggies, with a full array of growing styles and price points. We’ll still have terrific pizza from Big River, and food truck rock stars Chef Shack, plus fabulous baked goods from Patisserie 46, cheese, meat, chocolates, etc. But there will be no doubt this is a farmers market first.

Kingfield has more farmers than any Southwest market, and we’d be dumb to mess with the magical feel that suffuses our cozy site. Still, our seating has always been a bit … cramped. This year, we’re creating a beautiful new lounge under a shade tree — five family-size benches plus tables. People have always sat there, but now it will be comfortable! Look for it in the market’s first few weeks.

To make shopping easier, we’re also introducing ATM services on-site. You can get up to $60 cash for a convenience fee lower than a third-party ATM. And to make staying easier, we’ve added an on-site bathroom at Fulton!

Food justice is a big deal to us. For the first time, both markets will accept EBT (more commonly known as food stamps). You may not think people who use food stamps live nearby, but they do. And to help encourage healthful purchases, we’ll match the first $5 each EBT cardholder spends each week. 

We’re not just helping our own neighborhoods: this year, we’re helping support five mini-markets throughout south Minneapolis. These markets, in underserved areas, need assistance dealing with government, finding vendors and marketing themselves. We’re taking over the Whittier-based Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy’s great work.

To help the environment, we’re going zero waste: all packaging for on-site use will be fully compostable. We’ll have bins to make sure it all goes to the right place, with volunteers on-hand to answer any questions. 

We appreciate all the support we’ve received over the years; given all our new initiatives, can always use your help, even for an hour or two each month. If you’d like to volunteer, please email [email protected] and/or [email protected] See you soon!