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Year in Review: Farmer’s Market

Huss Project Farmer's Market

We completed our fourth season of the Huss Project Farmer’s Market this year! What began in 2020 as an emergency response to Three Rivers closing its market due to COVID has become a joyful (and delicious) hub of activity at the Huss Project every Saturday morning from June through September!

The market featured 17 vendors this year selling local fruit and vegetables, eggs, pork, beef, fish, cheese, butter, yogurt, maple syrup, soap, baked goods, and more. Not including art market vendors (see below), we had almost $36,000 in gross sales this year—nearly doubling our sales from 2020! The Imaginarium is always open during the market, serving free coffee from our partners at World Fare and selling used books to benefit our ongoing work at Huss. Our market accepts as many payment options as we can—including SNAP, WIC Project Fresh, Senior Project Fresh, Double Up Food Bucks, and Huss Project Fresh Food Cards—in an effort to make the market as financially accessible as possible to as many neighbors as possible. This year, 15% of our sales utilized one of these programs. Tips collected at the market fund our Fresh Food Cards, a local food assistance program that distributed over $2,000 in market gift cards to neighbors in 2023. Top sellers at the market this year included scones, blueberries, salad greens, corn, peaches, and tomatoes.

Every week, the Children’s Area on the farm and our woods path were available to explore, complete with a tree swing, mud kitchen, basketball court, sandbox, and more. Our urban farm is always open during the market, allowing neighbors a chance to stroll through the beautiful garden beds and to see the amazing work of our Farm Manager and AmeriCorps VISTA Summer Associates. Since 2019, Summer Associates have helped work the farm, run the market, and staff our food distribution programs; unfortunately, due to federal budget cuts, we won’t have the chance to hire additional Summer Associates in 2024. We’re hoping we’ll be able to hire farm help independently for next summer; watch this space for more details early next year.

Every Second Saturday during the market season, we added art vendors, live music, food trucks, and other special activities to the mix. Members of the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra performed Musical Storybooks during three Second Saturdays. Shane Tripp, Courtney Moore, Jeffrey Keefer, and Morgan Taylor performed original and cover music during these markets, each wowing us with their unique talents. Local 4-H Clubs joined us for the July Second Saturday to sell handcrafted items to raise funds for their programs. Once a part of Future Festival, our annual Back to School Celebration has now become part of our August Second Saturday at the market. This year, we handed out 500 backpacks filled with school supplies to neighborhood kids and over 15 county organizations provided activities and information to families as part of our Community Carnival. Second Saturdays are always filled with excitement for the whole family!

We also ran two special event markets in October, one during the Fall Color Tour and one at Scidmore Park during the First Annual Fall Festival. These events allowed us to connect with more neighbors and helped to extend the season further into the fall for our market vendors.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the market this year, whether as an eater, a vendor, an artist, or just an explorer—together, we’re creating a little pocket of beauty every week during the market season in our corner of town. We couldn’t do it without everyone doing their part!