Tag Archive | Grand Rapids farmers’ markets

Southeast Area Farmers’ Market opens Saturday July 1

13882561_1253537447998287_2460462587423020698_nThe Southeast Area Farmers’ Market kicks off its 2017 season on Saturday July 1 at Martin Luther King Jr. Park, 900 Fuller Ave. SE 49506. The market will operate Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. through Nov. 11. Market events commence July 8 with a visit from the Grand Rapids Fire Department Residential Safety Program and an Urban Foraging Workshop (noon to 2 p.m.). A new addition to the market, once a month it will host area artists at its Arts Market tent.

“As market managers for the past seven years, Our Kitchen Table has well established the market at MLK Jr. Park,” says Lisa Oliver-King, executive director of Our Kitchen Table. “Neighborhood residents have enjoyed having access to fresh, local produce and cottage foods within walking distance.”

dufb_bridgecardThe Southeast Area Farmers’ Market warmly welcomes patrons using Bridge cards (SNAP), WIC Project Fresh, Cash Value Benefits, Summer EBT, Double Up Food Bucks and debit cards. When using the Double Up Food Bucks program, patrons purchasing Michigan produce at select farmers’ markets with Bridge cards receive $1 for each $1 dollar spent, up to $20 each market visit.

The Market has an exciting line-up of market activities on its 2017 calendar. In addition, community organizations will be on hand with information, activities and services. The following events will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Friday market and 12 to 2 p.m. at the Saturday market:


  • July 8 Urban Foraging Workshop
  • July 30 Fried Green Tomato Festival
  • Aug. 5 DIY Personal Care Items Workshop
  • Sept. 15 Art at the Market
  • Oct. 1 Greens Cook-off
  • Oct. 7 Greens Cook-0ff
  • Nov. 4 Fall Celebration

Cooking Demos: July 22, Aug. 19, Sept. 23, Oct. 28 and Nov. 4.


Arts Market Tent:  July 15, Aug. 12, Sept. 16 and Oct. 21


For information, email seafm@OKTjustice.org or visit http://www.OKTjustice.org/farmers-market



Artist/musician Derrick Hollowell to share tunes and art at Southeast Area Farmers’ Market grand opening Friday & Saturday

This weekend is the Southeast Area Farmers’ Market’s grand opening celebration. In addition to more produce and more vendors, both market locations will groove to the beats of Derrick “Vito” Hollowell and the Vegtible Brothers. Vito will also exhibit his artwork.

In addition, the grand opening will also feature children’s take-home crafts, face painting, card table games, jump rope, 2012 Farm Bill information, used book give-
away, United Way 2-1-1 Bundled Benefits, free iced tea and cold water–as well as these scheduled events:

Gerald R Ford Middle School, Friday 2 – 7 p.m.

    • 3 p.m. Water Balloons & Kids Games
    • 4 p.m. Healthy food cooking demo
    • 5 p.m. Fashion show
  • 6 p.m. Dancer-cise with DJ

Garfield Park, Saturday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

  • 11 a.m. Pet care activity
  • 12 p.m. Healthy food cooking demo
  • 1 p.m. Fashion show
  • 2 p.m.  Dancer-cise with DJ

Shoppers purchasing produce with EBT/SNAP/Bridge Cards will receive a free kitchen utensil. Both market locations accept cash, debit cards, EBT/SNAP, Double Up Food Bucks, WIC Project Fresh and Kent County Health Department coupons.

Women led historical movement for farmers’ markets in Grand Rapids

This story also appears on www.GRIID.org

On Thursday March 8, anthropologist Jayson Otto shared the history of Grand Rapids’ farmers’ markets as part of the Greater Grand Rapids Women’s History Council “Grand Rapids Women and the Politics of Agriculture” series. From 1800 through 1946, the number of farmers’ markets steadily rose throughout the US. Grand Rapids was very much a part of this trend, especially from 1914 through 1928, when food costs soared due to the rising dominance of industrialized food production and distribution.

While industry leaders heavily influenced city government to quash the rise of farmers’ markets here, two forces prevented this from happening: farmers resisting through civil disobedience and women working together in a local movement to keep the markets open. As the women of OKT are working for food security in Grand Rapids neighborhoods through the Southeast Area Farmers’ Market and food gardening programs today, we found this information extremely interesting.

The other sources for food in the city were the many neighborhood grocers as well as the hucksters, underclass folks who sold produce from their carts. The grocers had the power to approve which hucksters could sell this food–and often it was not very fresh.

Around the turn of the century, grocers and food brokers influenced City Hall to outlaw farmers from retailing their wares along stretches of downtown streets, as was their custom. Retailing was discouraged at the wholesale market, which was a food distribution hub to all of Michigan and beyond. However, the small farmers continued to set up their illegal retail stalls–and people continued to go to them for fresh produce for some time. A woman vegetable grower from Wyoming, Mrs. Stall, was among those who resisted.was

According to history that Otto was able to unearth, one tough market advocate who made the press of that day, August Raditz, a white working class woman living on South Division Avenue. She was known for being handy with a scythe and standing up to city hall.

However, upper class white “club” women, Eleanor Nickleson, Helen Russell, Eva Hamilton and Emily Chamberlain were the identified leaders of the woman-led movement. They gathered momentum to establish retail farmers’ markets through a “High Cost of Living” campaign that eventually garnered support from the local Cabinetmakers union, businessman, Charles Leonard, of refrigerator fame, and the mayor of Grand Rapids. (Hamilton went on to be Michigan’s first woman senator). I n spite a strong opposition by male civic leaders, the result was three permanent farmers’ markets in the city: Leonard Street Market, South Division Market (at Cottage Grove) and Fulton Street Market.

When the farmers’ markets were met with threats of being closed in 1934 and 1955, women-led initiatives kept them open. While Otto was able to find photos and information about the Leonard Street Market up to its destruction in the 60s by urban renewal, the demise of the South Division market s seems to be undocumented. He guessed that the 1968 racial uprising may have been the cause.

The encouraging part of Otto’s presentation was the radical role that women have taken in establishing food security in Grand Rapids in the past. The discouraging piece was the lack of historical data around the role that people of color played in Grand Rapids farmers’ market history.

Do you have any recollections of the South Division Market or other farmers’ markets serving Grand Rapids people of color? If yes, please contact us at OKTable1@gmail.com. Knowing this history could bring another lost bit of important Black history to well deserved light.