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Festival Celebrates 10th Season At Tower Grove Farmers’ Market

June 19, 2015 Farmers' Markets, Featured, South City Comments Off on Festival Celebrates 10th Season At Tower Grove Farmers’ Market

On Saturday May 13, 2006 a new farmers’ market opened for business. I was there that morning and posted the following:

My first photo of Tower Farmers' Grove Market; 9:30am on the very first day.
My first photo of Tower Farmers’ Grove Market; 9:30am on the very first day.

The speeches haven’t even begun opening the Tower Grove Farmer’s Market but if the first few hours are any indication, it will be hugely successful.

Occupying a small paved area west of the Pool Pavilion (which itself is on the West side fo the traffic circle), the market was full and vendors and paying customers.

Organic produce, live plants, eggs and meats. Other local items such as handmade soaps, bread, and pasta rounded out the selection.

The only problem was really a good one, lots of people and bicycles. It was crowded but that added to the feeling of success. Had the same number of people and vendors been spread over a wider area it wouldn’t have been as good.

Bike parking was an issue so some secured their bikes to the fence of the nearby tennis courts or light poles. Hopefully before the end of the market in October some bike racks can get installed nearby. Joining the Friends of Tower Grove Park might help that cause.

I noticed many residents walking to the farmer’s market both from Tower Grove South and Shaw neighborhoods. That is really great as I’d hate to see so many cars in the park that someone starts thinking a parking lot is needed.

Big kudos to all the organizers, sponsors and elected officials (including Ald. Jennifer Florida), for making this happen.

Here are some more images I took that morning:towergrovefarmersmarket20062 towergrovefarmersmarket20063 towergrovefarmersmarket20064towergrovefarmersmarket20065Tomorrow it’s hosting a festival (8am-5pm) to celebrate the current season — the 10th:

We are thrilled to be celebrating our 10th Season at the mark of midsummer. We want everyone to come celebrate with us – if you only make it to one market each season, this is the one! You’ve made the market what it is today – a bustling weekly destination for dozens of local farmers and food producers and thousands of St Louisans – and we hope you will come celebrate the wonderful market you have built. We are staying open until 5pm to give everyone extra time to make it out! (Tower Grove Farmers’ Market)

I asked and conformed the Tower Grove Farmers’ Market is participating with other local farmers’ markets in a great program to get quality fruits & vegetables in the hands of low-income customers:

A new program at several local farmers markets will give low-income customers double the value for money spent on fruits and vegetables.

Under the St. Louis Farmers Market Association’s new “SNAP 2 It!” Program, recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, can get each dollar spent on these fresh foods matched. The program is modeled on others around the country that have been successful. (St. Louis Public Radio)

They’ll match up to $20! Congrats to Jenny, Patrick, and everyone else on the start of the 10th season!

— Steve Patterson

 

 

Readers Support Soulard Market Renovation

ABOVE: Soulard Farmers’ Market

In the poll last week readers indicated they’re supportive of renovating Soulard Market.  Read the original post and comments here.

Q: Support the Planned $14 Million Renovation of Soulard Market?

  1. Yes! 57 [62.64%]
  2. No! 14 [15.38%]
  3. Don’t know enough to decide 10 [10.99%]
  4. Unsure/no opinion 5 [5.49%]
  5. Other: 5 [5.49%]

The five “other” answers were:

  1. Let it be – OLD is OK…why is history such a crime in this City!
  2. I would support it if the food was local and not the same crap from Schnucks
  3. most underperforming venue
  4. Support some of the improvements, but not all
  5. what’s the vision?

The Soulard Market Master Plan can be downloaded here. I’ve not had an opportunity to study the plan so I’ll reserve any judgement. When I used to shop at Soulard I’d do a circle to see what looked good and would then return to the farmer vendors to buy from them — I rarely bought from those reselling produce row items. I’d like to see more farmers and fewer resellers.

– Steve Patterson

 

 

Poll: Support the Planned $14 Million Renovation of Soulard Market?

ABOVE: Soulard Farmers’ Market

Over the years there has been talk of giving Soulard Market a top to bottom facelift but it hasn’t happened. Such talk is happening again:

The master plan for Soulard Market proposes spending as much as $14 million on improvements over the next several years. The report suggests that funding could come from grants and donations, a parks bond issue or a future parks tax. (see stltoday for plan details)

Some are excited by the idea and others say the charm will be designed out in the process. You can view the full plan here.

Share your comments below and vote in the poll in the right sidebar. Poll closes a week from today and results will be published on Friday July 20th.

— Steve Patterson

 

Farmers’ Markets: How they benefit an urban community

Since the middle of May, I have supervised an organic produce stand at the Tower Grove Park Farmers’ Market on Saturday mornings. I can’t tell you how many people have walked in front of our stand, wandered in to look at the produce, and bought produce from my co-workers and I. While there are occasional newcomers to the market, I usually find myself greeting a familiar face who is holding a canvas bag, ready to fill it with our organic produce. The newbies who shop at the market are greeted with a chaotic scene: dozens of people walking up and down the market paths, searching for that “perfect” peach, apple, radish, cucumber or bundle of Swiss Chard. There are people of all shapes, sizes, ethnicity, religions and creeds who shop at the market, and they usually bring their kids, dogs and significant others with them. That’s why I feel that a farmers’ market is an excellent way to tie a community together. Citizens from all walks of life can interact with each other in a comfortable setting and learn about each other and locally grown produce as well. I know that I have learned alot about the fabric of urban life in St. Louis, especially South City, while I have been at the market.

Tower Grove Farmers Market, May 2006
Tower Grove Farmers' Market, May 2006

The engine behind the farmers’ market is the farm that supplies the market with fresh produce. Tower Grove Park’s Farmers’ Market has a variety of suppliers and a few of them are local urban farms. Our farm, City Seeds,  is in downtown St. Louis, a couple of blocks east of Jefferson Ave close to Union Station. Consequently, we have had produce stolen from the property, we find people sleeping there on occasion, and we normally have to walk around the farm each morning and pick up trash, but the farm continues to prosper and inspire people who visit it and volunteer with us. I feel that our farm makes a positive difference in the downtown St. Louis community but our location may be compromised by Paul McKee’s Northside plan. But, that day is hopefully a way off and until Mr. McKee’s bulldozer destroys our property, we’re going to keep farming on it.

Finally, I pose a question to you, the loyal Urban Review STL reader: do you shop at local farmers’ markets (and I’m not talking about Soulard. 75% of the produce there is trucked in from California. Shocking, isn’t it?)? If so, which ones and why? Also, how could your favorite farmers’ market better serve you? More variety, perhaps?

Thanks.

-Tim Brinkmann

 

Urban Country Fair Saturday, Farm Aid Concert Sunday

September 30, 2009 Environment, Events/Meetings, Farmers' Markets Comments Off on Urban Country Fair Saturday, Farm Aid Concert Sunday

This coming weekend the fine folks from Farm Aid will be in Town.  Sunday October 4th I will be out at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater (aka Riverport) to see the annual concert featuring Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, Neil Young, Dave Matthews and many others (see lineup). The concert can be viewed on DirecTV or streaming via FarmAid.org.

Saturday’s festivities are far away from the suburban concert setting.  Farm Aid will partner with local organizations to present an Urban Country Fair in Tower Grove Park in South St. Louis:

On Saturday, October 3, Farm Aid is inviting St. Louisans to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty.

The free HOMEGROWN Urban Country Fair, curated by Farm Aid’s online community, HOMEGROWN.org, will feature exhibits and workshops showcasing ways that everybody can get involved with good food. From urban farming to composting, beekeeping, home brewing and all things in between, the Fair promises a day of hands-on, interactive experiences. Farm Aid’s partners for the event include All Along Press; The Greenhorns; KDHX Community Media; Local Harvest Grocery, Cafe and Catering; and the Tower Grove Farmers Market.

The fair will feature vendors celebrating modern homesteading and the connection to good food, farmers and the earth. Fair goers will also enjoy live music by The Scotland Yard Gospel Choir and The Northwoods.

Exhibits will include:
The Burning Kumquat Urban Farm – Urban farming
The Greenhorns – Getting started in farming and seed cleaning
Organic Valley – Butter making and young farmers
Floating Farms – Aquaculture
Eastern Missouri Beekeepers Association – Beekeeping!
YellowTree Farm – Urban homesteading
Schlafly Beer – Home brewing
Upcycle Exchange – Crafting and repurposing
Earthdance – crowd-sourced mural painting
Rachel Bigler – Fermentation

WHEN: October 3, 2009, 10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

WHERE: Tower Grove Farmers’ Market, Tower Grove Park, West of the Pool Pavilion

Farm Aid founded HOMEGROWN.org to be a place where the love for food and the land evolves, deepens, and becomes something more fulfilling. The HOMEGROWN.org social network is a community of like-minded do-it-yourselfers who can share the bigger stories that food has to share.

Farm Aid’s mission:

Farm Aid’s mission is to build a vibrant, family farm-centered system of agriculture in America. Farm Aid artists and board members Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews host an annual concert to raise funds to support Farm Aid’s work with family farmers and to inspire people to choose family-farmed food. Since 1985, Farm Aid, with the support of the artists who contribute their performances each year, has raised nearly $36 million to support programs that help farmers thrive, expand the reach of the Good Food Movement, take action to change the dominant system of industrial agriculture and promote food from family farms.

– Steve Patterson

 

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