Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Brief History of the East Nashville Farmers Market and the Future...

In 2007, as the local food movement was just beginning to take root in Nashville, John Dyke, owner of the Turnip Truck Natural Market in East Nashville, envisioned having a farmers market that would bring people together in the community for fresh, local food. He approached Hank Delvin, Jr. of Delvin Farms, and together they laid out the plan to hold the market in the Turnip Truck parking lot.

Hank gathered a few farmers and artisans including James Gardener of Gardener Grove, Madison Creek Farms, Kenny's Cheese, Angel Radiance, Peaceful Pastures, Paradise Produce, West Wind Farms, Rainbow Hill Farm, Alchemy of Sol and Delvin Farms. The market was at the same time as it is today, Wednesdays 3:30-6:30. It started slow but grew in size, and soon the parking lot at the Turnip Truck became too small to hold all the customers and vendors.

Hank moved the market in 2008 to its present location, 210 S 10th Street, behind the Turnip Truck at the Freewill Baptist Church where Pastor Weeks welcomes us every week. Live music became a staple and the Howling Brothers played for customers and vendors every week. They have since become a big hit in Nashville, so it's hard to book them every week for our market!

In 2010, Sean Siple of Good Food for Good People helped Delvin Farms by taking over management of the market so Hank, Jr. could focus on farming and get the farm back on track after Hank Sr.'s tragic car accident in July 2009 left him unable to farm for a year. Sean brought in more vendors, volunteers, and different genres of music. Since then he has opened more of his own markets, so management of the market has gone back to Delvin Farms, Hank Sr., is back on the farm and able to help Hank Jr. again, and Amy Delvin is now managing the market... which brings us to the future of the market.

As the local food movement increases, people are becoming aware of eating locally and supporting the local economy.  The East Nashville market has grown to include not just farmers, but also local businesses. Shoppers can support their local economy by purchasing staples such as bread, coffee, milk, cheese, soap, candles, vegetables and fruit, all by local producers and businesses. They can now do one stop shopping at their neighborhood farmers market and not have to go to the grocery store, all by supporting the local economy!

Even more exciting news for the future of our community market- we now accept SNAP (foodstamps). We hare partnering with Community Food Advocates who is doing outreach to the community surrounding the East Nashville market and we can now truly serve the community in which we have our farmers market.

We are also collaborating with two other Farmers Markets: the Franklin market and the downtown Nashville Market. Together we will be booking live music. Groups will play for East Nashville on Wednesdays, Franklin on Saturdays, and Nashville on Sunday. We will market through the groups, getting the word out about their music, while they in turn help spread the word about our markets and bring customers in to watch them play (while shopping).  Besides the live music, working with these two Farmers markets is exciting because we are finally making a small step to bring the local food movement together. Our goal is to work together as one large community and lessen the farmers markets competition amongst markets and vendors. As farmers market vendors we all strive for the same goal- to support local businesses, but sometimes we forget to support each other. The vision for the future is to work together to make the TN local economy the best it can be!

Mark your calendar for the grand opening of the East Nashville market on May 11th at 3:30pm. Councilman Mike Jameson along with chefs Tandy Wilson, Jeremy Barlow and Jen Franzen will be doing the ribbon cutting. Children will be entertained by Loving Touch Petting Zoo, and adults will enjoy the live music, and of course, the amazing shopping opportunities!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Get to Know Your Farmer and Build A Sustainable Community

      Developing mutual trust and friendship with your local farmer is one step in the process of building a truly sustainable community. In a time of increasingly industrialized food production and resulting environmental problems, it's good to know your farmer and where your food is coming from. Joining a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program can help you eat better while supporting family farms. Participating in a CSA offers numerous benefits. Produce tastes better because it is straight off the farm and only hours old. Organically grown fruits and vegetables are free of pesticides and herbicides. Additonally, supporting a local farming business keeps more money within our economy.
       Another way in which you can support the local economy and family farms is to shop at a local, producers only farmers market such as the East Nashville Farmers market! A local market such as the East Nashville Market provides a venue for purchasing cheese, milk, bread, meat, vegetables, soap, baked goods, flowers and even some original artisan crafts. You can even get a free massage from a certified therapist trained at the Natural Health Institute! Tell me what grocery store with tomatoes shipped from Mexico can provide you with all that and a massage!
  Don't forget to mark your calendar for the grand opening on May 11th! Your local farmers and artisans will be there every Wednesday rain or shine from 3:30-6:30. Come out and shop in your community, support your local economy.